I came across an interesting article on the Linkedin blog recently. It explained at length how a bigger professional network has a direct impact on your career progress.
It bases itself on a book by Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, "The Start Up of You". In the book, Hoffman elucidates how the strength of your network, even down to your third-degree connections, magnifies your individual capabilities. So, now professional networking is no longer about "who you know", but also about "who your contacts know".
Let's take the case of Linkedin itself. Linkedin is a network of over 150 million professionals from across the world. Over 2 million companies have registered themselves a Linkedin Company Page. It is not possible to get in touch with all of them directly. But, Linkedin offers a surprizingly huge reach for your limited professional network.
The average Linkedin user will be have access to 9000 other professionals through their 2nd degree network. This, by extension, implies that an average Linkedin user is already connected to over 6000 companies working in 130 industries through this 2nd degree network. Superconnectors on Linkedin are connected to as much as 200,000 companies through the 3 million members on their extended network.
While these numbers are stagerring, what is more surprizing is the way Linkedin connections have an impact on your professional career. Connecting with a former colleague, business partner, classmate, or friend, helps in collaborating and brokering future opportunities. So much so that, it was noticed that when people made moves to advance their career, about 20 percent of them joined organizations where they knew someone from their prior jobs.
Adding connections also helps in starting a new business and finding new jobs. Trusted connections can often broker deals, make recommendations or refer candidates to positions. For example, it was found that job seekers who grew their networks were 30 percent more likely to find jobs than job seekers with static networks.
These numbers point to a very real fact. With a large portion of recruitment efforts moving online, so does the majority of the opportunities. The best way to find them is by connecting with people who know some people who know some people. So, it's about time you started investing on your career network.