One of the battle cries of any good career coach is to try to underscore the vital importance of maintaining your network while you are working. It is really tough to get a job search off the ground quickly if you have to spend the first several weeks apologizing to people because it has been so long since you have been in touch. It makes it even more awkward because you need their help.
So, what can you do now to maintain and nurture your relationships when you are super busy and you are just trying to keep your head above water at work?
DAILY NETWORKING PRACTICE – Reconnect, re-engage and remind
Networking is more genuine and more effective when you reach out to people at times that are more about them than about you. Maintaining your network is about reconnecting with your contacts, re-engaging the relationship and reminding them of you.
LinkedIn has a little help for you to make it easy to stay in touch with your network with less than five minutes of investment a day. LinkedIn will let you know when something important is going on for your contacts – i.e., they have changed jobs, have a birthday, or have a work anniversary. This is the perfect opportunity to check in on them and catch up.
Don’t take the easy way out and just “like” the new status. Actually open their profiles and send a message. This starts an actual dialog where you can reconnect, re-engage and remind
There are three ways to do this. One way is from the home page.
#1 -- Here’s a screenshot of the networking help area on the home page:
Another option is to enter your connections area, called “My Network” in your drop down menu. This is the only place on web-based version of LinkedIn that actually lists birthdays.
#2 -- Here is a screenshot of the networking help in “My Network” section:
The last way is to use the LinkedIn mobile app – this is a very quick and easy way to stay in touch. If you have not downloaded the app, you could start there. This list lots of great things – birthdays, job changes, anniversaries and also notifications if one of your contacts has published content on LinkedIn.
#3 -- Here is a screenshot of where to find the networking reminders on the mobile app:
It is all too easy and common to get lax about maintaining your network. Most people don’t make it a priority because they are too busy or they are happy where they are working. The hard thing is that circumstances can change on a dime in today’s market. Those people who have invested in their networks have it so much easier if they find that they need (or want) to change jobs. So, be good to yourself and carve out 5 minutes a day to stay in touch with your precious network. You will thank yourself later!!