It’s not what you know… one of my career 9 Situations…

It’s not what you know; use your network to find your roles …

I’ve always stayed in touch with work colleagues and this paid off a couple of times in my career in terms of finding suitable roles. 

This happened first when I was approached by two ex-colleagues who had left Citi in order to set up the UK’s first (blue chip) mortgage securitisation business. They offered me the role of Head of Sales and Channels, which I accepted and left Citi after nearly 14 years.

This move suited my career goals very well because it was a new sector, a start-up and I felt I had gone as far as I could at Citi (I had just made resident Vice President). I could have easily stayed and had a few easy (if boring) more years but this would not have been true to myself and my strong work ethic. FMS also gave me experience of working in a small organisation.

The second example was 15 years later when an ex-Citi colleague had been doing some consultancy work for Barclays Private Bank which highlighted a significant challenge impacting growth and cultural change. This required a new role in the organisation and she was asked what she would do. She told them ‘If it were me, I’d just hire Jan Floyd-Douglass, she’ll sort it out!’.

Six interviews later, I was offered and accepted the role of Global Sales Director. The role was never advertised and no recruitment search firms were engaged.

In 2 years we increased the Private Bank’s assets under management by 46%. I also set up Group-wide client referral programmes supported by formal economic transfer agreements (profit share) between the 3 main Group strategic business units. This increased customer share of wallet through principally allowing the referring SBU to share in the extra profits generated, and led to hugely increased referrals and satisfied clients.

Reflection: Don’t neglect your network of work colleagues; they have invaluable inside track knowledge of potential opportunities which could be useful years down the line.