Tune Up Your Professional Network – From the Sunlounger
If you’ve got a bit of space over the summer why not think about freshening up your network. We are creatures who need community and connection. For the returner, the stats are overwhelming. You’re far more likely to get a job from someone you know than a recruitment company.
Networking is About Giving
Keeping connections fresh is entirely about giving.
Offering value, doing a favour, and not asking for anything in return creates a fantastic energy in your network and makes you feel good. It’s a gentle return for you as you freshen up your network after a break. if you haven’t connected with people at all in five years and suddenly, out of nowhere, you ask them for something, it becomes easy to ignore you.
If you have kept the connection going, not only will it be much more natural and comfortable when you need to reach out, but the other party will be much more inclined to actually help you!
Build Your Network Using LinkedIn
You can be doing this on your phone anywhere. LinkedIn has an app and you could literally be connecting with people you meet on the beach (it’s not OTT, promise).
Say You are Looking for Work
Do post on your profile – “I’m looking to get back into work and would love suggestions for connections in this space”…. in the right language for you.
Suggestions for Ways to Reconnect
1) Say Hello:
Be the one to stay in touch. You are not asking for anything. Just say “I was thinking of you”. Isn’t it nice to get those texts from ANYONE? Go to their profile, hit “message”, type two lines and press “send” without overthinking.
Remember things about people: “How is your charity work going?” It feels good when someone remembers your details.
2) Offer to help:
“I see you are overseeing that area now, please do remember I’m here for any pro-bono advice!”
3) Unsolicited, positive feedback:
Most of us live with very little positive feedback. You could say “That’s a great article on LinkedIn, congrats on your promotion, (once someone is in your network you get notified of work anniversaries, say congratulations and put a personal note in), your new profile captures your expertise so well”.
4) Say thank you:
I can’t tell you how many people don’t do this. For anything! I have a discipline to send a thank you note once a day. It’s crucial, especially once you get onto meeting people for coffee and advice. See my posts on informational interviews. Let them know where you are at and if they made a difference.
5) Follow up:
When you ask someone in your network for something (like a reference, advice, an introduction) and she follows through, let her know what happened. Did you get the interview or make a connection? Makes you so memorable.
6) Make an introduction:
Be astute about helpful introductions you can make. “X is doing similar work; I’ll connect you”.
7) Share on a common interest:
“I just walked past the squash courts we used to play at and wanted to send you some good thoughts. Do you ever see X? I’d love to connect with them again if so”.
8) Pointers to business articles or resources:
Things that relate to their work, or something you think they will enjoy personally, Even better, send a picture to personalise.
9) Video mail:
So stand out. It’s pulling out the big guns. Just google “free video email” for how and ideas. Perhaps you could ask for an informational interview in this way. I’m committing her to doing this to ask for podcasts guests! I’ll let you know how I go.
If you get into this mindset and spend a few minutes on it daily your network will grow exponentially. I would do it on LinkedIn but increasingly Facebook is a place to keep your network fresh and get jobs (65%) of people get jobs on Facebook. You can do similar there and I’ll post about it next.
The more you connect the more the LinkedIn algorithm will help you, showing you possible connections from ALL walks of your life to connect with.
Remember with getting jobs as a returner, it’s six degrees of separation. Get the word out from the comfort of your beach towel/garden bench this summer.