Nothing brings the value of a strong professional network to light like a job search. While many job seekers focus on creating new connections, your old network is also highly valuable. Throughout one’s career, it is often easy to let these prior relationships fall by the wayside. However, making an effort to cultivate that network today can yield significant returns when you are looking for new employment opportunities.
If you have neglected your prior connections, here are some tips to help you reconnect.
Embrace Social Media
Most social media networks provide a suitable path to reconnect with co-workers and supervisors past. LinkedIn is particularly well positioned for this task, though Facebook and other avenues can also be effective.
When reaching out, don’t be surprised if not everyone responds. Depending on how long it has been since you have communicated and the nature of your exit from one another’s lives, not all parties will be immediately interested in reestablishing the relationship. Make sure your initial messages do not focus on a request. Instead, remind them of your previous connection and express an interest in keeping in touch. If the original request is well received, work to reconnect before you ask for assistance in your job search.
If you regularly attend conferences, conventions or large meetings, you may be able to reconnect more organically. By being involved in the event, you show you are still committed to the industry, and face-to-face interactions often hold more potential than those based on social media.
Regardless of whether members of your previous network attend, you have the opportunity to network with other professionals who may also make valuable additions to your network (and you to theirs). Consider the time spent at these events as an investment in your professional future, and take advantage of everything they have to offer.
Set Social Appointments
Regular interaction in person is critical to maintaining your connections. Consider scheduling regular meetings or social appointments to catch up in person. Even a simple coffee break can help keep your network alive. Don’t always talk about work and professional opportunities. Instead, use those topics to pepper a conversation that resembles two friends catching up on each other’s lives.
All relationships require maintenance. Once you reconnect, make sure you follow up to keep the connection strong. If you reconnect over social media, review the other person’s posts and add comments, share their articles or simply like the content. Complement these efforts with other forms of communication when your schedules align.
Be an Asset
Keeping a healthy network involves effort on your part as well. Consider what you have to offer other members of your network and give of yourself freely. By being there when someone else needs help, you can cement the relationship over the long term while doing something positive for someone else.
If you are currently looking to expand your network or are interested in finding new employment options, The Armada Group has the skills needed to match candidates with the best opportunities available in their field. Contact us and see where our professional network can take you.