My google alerts on “Personal Networks” and “Personal Network Value” bring me some interesting nuggets – and take me to some off-beat places. Today I’ve spent some time in the “Career Talk for Women” section of Forbes magazine!!

My exploration of Personal Networks has been focussed around visualisation and values – but this blog post by Caroline Ceniza-Levine titled “Test The Strength Of Your Network” approaches Personal Networks from another angle.

Do take the time to read Caroline’s blog post in full – but I especially liked her quote:

Networking is not something that you can cram last-minute. A strong network is built over time and with deliberate attention to both quantity and quality of the contacts.

Caroline gives three questions to test the strength of your network:-

1. If you had a professional question (e.g. “do you know anyone at Pfizer? They posted a job that may be right for me and I want to learn more about that group”) – how many people would you feel comfortable calling right now? Less than 25 – and your network’s just not strong enough.
2. When was the last time you had lunch or a Starbucks with a contact outside your day-to-day colleagues or closest friends? More than a month – there’s a big danger you are not diversifying your network enough.
3. Do you have mentors and supporters? If there is no-one around who is looking out for you – and that you can trust for confidential advice, then you need to go in search of them.

Really good, simple advice – I’ll be following Caroline’s posts in future even if I have to venture in to the women’s section )that’s something much easier on the internet than in real life!!). I suspect that Caroline is a top scorer on network strength – her profile says “Caroline is an extreme career changer: classical pianist, banker, consultant, executive recruiter, actor, corporate HR director, real estate investor and career coach.” There will be no problem at all with the diversity of her Personal Network!