The other night I was watching “Meet the Parents”, a movie where Robert DeNiro plays an ex-CIA agent who is meeting his daughter’s boyfriend for the first time. During the movie, he introduces the boyfriend to concept of the “Circle of Trust”. Within the ‘circle’ were DeNiro’s closest confidants and trusted individuals. That got me thinking about networking and the job search.
Developing a ‘Circle of Trust’ or ‘Board of Advisors’ within your networking efforts has proven helpful to alumni. Think of 7-12 individuals you trust; individuals who would give you open and honest feedback and not what you want to hear; individuals who care about you. These individuals are going to be your inner circle of contacts with whom you will want to touch base with on a regular basis as to your progress and developments. These regular check-ins (every week or two) allow you to stay accountable to your commitments and your contacts to stay up-to-date to your job hunt progress.
Your Board of Advisors should also be individuals you will stay in contact with even after you land your next opportunity as these individuals will serve more in a mentoring role for your career. A colleague of mine was recently let go after 10+ years in his current position. A few years back he had considered making a career jump and developed a list of approximately 20 individuals whose opinions he valued and trusted. When the unfortunate news fell recently, he was able to mobilize his contacts instantly and set up meetings to discuss his next steps.
It should also be noted that your circle of trusted contacts will evolve, new members will come into the fold while others will drift away. This can be due to a change in your/their career interests, the level of the relationship, or a myriad of other factors.
Often we network with too many people to truly stay in contact with one another – this is just a fact of a job hunt. We touch base from time to time when a piece of news or a conversation with another reminds us of that person – but the relationship stays at a low-level. This suffices with casual networking contacts, but consider developing a “Circle of Trust” to enhance your networking efforts.