2 Developing your networks
In Weeks 2 and 4 you learned how feeling part of a community and having extended networks can support career resilience. But networking, and in particular career networking, can be an area where individuals lack confidence. Some people feel the word conjures up images of sleaze or unfair advantage; some are unsure how to approach it.
Activity 4 Networking
Watch the video ‘What is networking?’, in which Wendy Woolery, Careers Advisor at The Open University, explains how you can extend and manage your network. You might want to pause the video once or twice to note some of the main points that are covered.
Identify three action points that would help you to extend and strengthen your community or career network.
Transcript: What is networking?
As your answer to this question will be personal/only applicable to your own circumstances, there is no discussion for this activity.
So, what about you? Which broader friendship groups and networks do you feel part of? In some groups you may feel on the edge, and in others fully embedded. Now you will think about your own network and how this helps your development.
Activity 5 Your networks as a source of strength
Look again at the spider’s web grid and at your notes from Activity 4.
Consider how your community and professional networks help you feel positive and energised. To what extent do you feel able to draw on them – and feed back to them – to support your development?
Often people’s networks reflect where they have been (e.g. their school friends and colleagues) rather than where they’d like to go (contacts in a new line of work). Is this so for you?
How comfortable do you feel asking for help?
How have you rated your community and professional networks at this stage?
Identify one action you could take right now to grow your community or professional networks as you would like. Could you take that action now? Or what feels a realistic timescale?
You might have picked up the phone to chat with an ex-colleague or agreed to volunteer on a project team outside your immediate team.
Research shows that having contact with weaker links, outside your immediate circles, proves highly effective. It broadens your exposure to new messages and options, and the range of people looking on your behalf. So venture further afield as your confidence grows.