I’ve put a lot more emphasis on networking in the last few years and I’ve always considered it an investment, the kind of investment that you think will pay off but has no guarantee. It’s not a certificate of deposit type investment.
Does it pay off? How often does knowing someone make a difference? As I think back to when I started in IT in 1998 every job and almost every consulting engagement was a result of someone I knew, or a referral from someone I knew. All except the first one!
In practice we all prefer a known to an unknown. For someone wanting help having any kind of positive recommendation puts you in the running for the job. When it comes to accepting a new position or assignment most of would much rather proceed when we have a ‘thumbs-up’ from someone that is already working there.
That might explain my track record. I like to know what I’m getting into, so I’m biased towards recommendations. It’s one of the ways I reduce risk.
There’s another benefit as well, and I’ll cover that tomorrow.