How to Leverage Career Networks

One of my network contacts and a member of the Markets in English group on LinkedIn published a discussion topic there about a recent interview that bears on the topic of Managing My Career.
 
I happened to see it while gearing up for a focus group / interview session that I'll conduct this afternoon on the topic of Managing My Career, which is part of my research focus and one of the themes of this blog.
 
In the process, I've turned once again to the idea of "The Startup of You" because I find what Reid Hoffman says:
  • makes so much sense; 
  • is responsive to the unmet needs that my students routinely describe; and 
  • recalls crucial turning points in my own career navigation.
Here is a summary of the interview, which follows below.
 
Note: I realize that what follows is somewhat generic. As I develop the ideas and tools and technologies alluded to in this prior post, I'll emphasize mini-case studies / war stories from multiple sources as a way to bring life to the actionable models and strategies that work.
 
How Do I Leverage My Network? - "We need to think of alternative career plans - Plan A; Plan B; Plan C - even when we're happy. [We need to leverage] our networks around us. You have a set of alliances; you have folks around you...by doing lightweight things and helping each other...Knowing what's going on in the industry; what's going on with competitors; what new technologies; what helps you do your job, what makes you a more effective professional, with a competitive edge.
 
"The network allows you, by being an ally in both directions, to navigate. It's almost like a virtual company around you...."
 
It's Not Luck; It's Serendipity: Creating Your Path to Opportunity - Good things don't happen to you by luck. They happen by serendipity. You cannot control this 100%, but you can increase the odds....Make your own luck.One of the keys is to put yourself in a place, in a network, where the likelihood of serendipity is much higher...Move to the networks where the likelihood of breakout opportunities is higher, something that could be the right thing for you to do, emerges.
 
I Don't Happen to Live in [Silicon Valley; New York City]; What Can I Do? How Can I Create My Opportunity? - "...Don't just use job listings...Don't make that your paradigm. Do things like volunteer for work...send over a packet of information...If you were approaching Bill Gates, you'd say, 'Here's an analysis of what's going on here...' Begin to iterate on the work product that will open the doors, build the network, do things that could lead to the beginnings of an interesting career path..."
 
By the end of this week, I will have collected data and qualitative feedback from more than 200 participants in this week's research. Part of my agenda is to publish my results in the form of an ethnography, i.e., the exact words of the interviewees, along with longitudinal survey data.
 
This is part of my approach to informing my view of how I can best serve my community on this and the other themes that are the focus of this blog and my Markets in English group on LinkedIn.