The CIA is, without a doubt, one of the most efficient organizations on the planet. From sophisticated information gathering techniques to the ability to keep trade secrets a secret, the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency are true professionals. Former undercover CIA officer, J.C. Carleson recently told the Wall Street Journal how his trade secrets can be applied to all of our careers in “Four CIA Secrets That Can Boost your Career.“
Our favorite piece of advice from J.C. was, of course, about networking.
Build a network up and down.
Seek out a more senior mentor. Dress for the position you want, not the one you have. Maximize face time with the boss. Career advice in the corporate world focuses almost completely upward. CIA officers, on the other hand, appreciate the value of an intelligence network that spreads in every direction. Sure, a senior-ranking diplomat might have access to more information that a mailroom employee, but a good spy knows that the mail guy handles all of the same documents, and is far more vulnerable to recruitment.
In the business world, it pays to establish relationships at all levels — from the secretary who can choose whether or not to put your call through, to the security guard who can give you friendly heads-up that the executive you’ve been trying to get a meeting with hits the building gym each morning at 5:00, to the machinist who can give you the real scoop on those lingering quality control issues. The most effective networks are far-reaching in all directions.