The Value of a Social Network
My education background is relatively limited, however my experiences are not. This includes a 2 year stint in London, playing hockey in hail and visiting the infamous Brands Hatch to see testosterone pumping on two wheels. My resume reads like the summarised version of a short film, jumping scenes in quick fashion due to the audience’s short attention span. Most notable is the common thread in my history of the lifelong colleagues I made.
In the Caribbean, it’s even more important to build a strong network as many decision makers are under the impression that you’re not a good hire unless they personally know one of your references. It may not be fair, but the reality of our culture is one of familiarity. You know the conversation, “…oh so you live in St Augustine? I have a friend who resides on that street opposite UWI….you know her?” At this part of the interview, you’re unsure of the relevance and how to steer the conversation back to your visible strengths to the job position.
One of the best ways to add value to your professional (and personal) life is to be social. This is a matter-of-fact way of life in Trinidad, however we tend to socialise with no direction in mind. Building a strong network takes a specific level of focus, that may be a bit difficult after your fifth Stag. Knowing what your goal is means shifting a dead end conversation to one of imminent value. Something as simple as “Where do you work?”, can spiral into career changing paths.
A strong Network means when you need financial advice on your next job offer, not only will you have multiple references to gauge the market value of that position but your advisors may know you future boss and mention your value at their next game of golf. Wherever you maybe in your profession or academic career, ensure that you’re not too busy to befriend the next Machel Montano.