In this career coaching Q&A, I answer Fay’s question: How do I know my networking is effective?
When you’re actively looking for a job or otherwise tapping your network, it’s easy to get a sense of whether your networking is effective — people either help or they don’t. When you’re gainfully employed and may not be reaching out to your network regularly, how do you know if your connections are strong?
Focus on quantity and quality: quality means you have people who are willing to help you (with company information, feedback on an issue, a recommendation); quantity means you have enough people to ask.
Remember that even if you have strong relationships (quality), not everybody can help on every issue so you still need to know a variety of people (quantity).
Alternatively, even if you know a lot of people (quantity), you may not know them well enough (quality) to ask!