Maintaining Your Network
Staying in touch with your network - and letting people know you take their job leads seriously - can give you an edge in the job market. There is abundant evidence that those who have a well-established network are the ones who most successfully rebound from job loss and make the best career transitions.
Maintaining your network involves staying in touch with your professional contacts. It's a regular, on-going activity that should be continued throughout your career.
How to Maintain a Long-Term Network
- Use a card file, computer database, or electronic hand-held note pad to keep contact lists with addresses, phone numbers, email and other useful information about your colleagues. Make notes on the person's hobbies, interests, or anything else you learn about them.
- Review your records regularly to keep them current.
- Follow up on any leads suggested by your network members in a timely manner. Let the person who referred you know the outcome of the connection.
- Since networking is based on reciprocity, look for opportunities to assist others by referring people who have skills that a specific employer might find useful, or making others aware of professional opportunities that may be appropriate for them. Remember that someday you may call on them to return the favor.
- Keep your contacts informed on the status of your job search. Call them or send follow-up notes (handwritten or e-mail) to thank them for their time and willingness to help. If a job lead doesn't work out, go back and ask your contacts for the names of others who might help you to broaden your network and refine your job market targets.
- Reward others in your network by sharing job search techniques that have worked for you and job leads.
- Put your highlights and/or objective on the back of your business cards, if you're in transition or it's okay for people to know you're looking around.