There was a recent discussion on LinkedIn regarding tight versus broad networks (LinkedIn Strategies – Tight vs Broad Network). Is it more effective in a job search to build a network of close connections or instead, build a network with a broad reach, but weak connections?
This is an interesting discussion. Recently I have been trying to qualify my network. I have been building my network for a little over a year now. At first, I thought it should be a numbers game. How many people can I connect with? I immediately saw diminishing returns.
To put things in perspective, I currently have:
- 277 contacts on LinkedIn.
- 180 following/156 followers on Twitter.
- 20 people actively following my blog daily and commenting
- 150 non-family contacts in my contact database
Of all the above contacts I consider maybe 10 contacts can help me find a new position or are people that remain in touch with me. What does this mean? Have I failed in networking? Should I have a tighter network or a better network? These are questions I ask myself everyday.
Here is what I do know.
- Maintaining a network takes time and effort on your part.
- If you are seeing no responses from your network then you should not put the effort in networking with that person. I know this seems harsh. But lets face facts, if you email and call someone and they do not respond then it is clear they are not interested in maintaining a link with you.
- Move on and find others that will return your emails and telephone calls. Even if they do not have a position, they are just checking in with you to maintain a link.
- Maintain a network that brings value to you.
I have started to be more discriminating in whom I add to LinkedIn and follow on Twitter. I want to have contacts that I can help and that can help me both in the short and long-term. It is not a numbers game anymore for me. It is about quality relationships with people.
What do you think about maintaining a network? What are your thoughts on how to maintain a network?