Career Opportunities? They're in Your Network!
According to Roy Maurer in his SHRM article “Employee Referrals Remain Top Source for Hires,” employee referrals accounted for 45 percent of internal hires and 30 percent of overall hires in 2016. Clearly, who you know is important when it comes to hearing about jobs. But though it’s relatively quick and easy to add contacts to your network by reaching out to them on LinkedIn, it’s much more challenging and time-consuming to interact with them and prevent your professional relationships from growing cold. The following tips can help you stay in touch with your contacts so they think of you when an opportunity comes along:
- Prioritize who to reach out to. In her Forbes article “Overwhelmed by Networking? How to Stay in Touch With a Growing Contact List,” Caroline Ceniza-Levine advises choosing who to stay in touch with based on your goals. For example, if your objective is to move up in your company, focus on the people in your organization, or if you want to transition to a new industry, concentrate on individuals who work in that sector.
- Share interesting articles. According to Chloe Mason Gray in her article “Simple Ways to Keep Your Network From Growing Cold” for The Muse, it’s a good idea to share interesting articles with other people. Every time you read something that could be of interest to a contact, send over the link with a brief message. This can help people remember you.
- Use technology to your advantage. There’s a growing number of contact management apps out there. For example, FullContact keeps your contacts up to date across all your devices, and Cloze even prompts you to follow up with people you haven’t been in touch with recently.
- Offer to help. As Rachel Grumann Bender advises in her FastCompany article “7 Ways to Maintain Your Professional Network Without Annoying Your Contacts,” many people only reach out when they need an introduction or other favor. However, if you offer to help someone by introducing them to one of your contacts or posting a link to their blog, that person will remember your generosity.
- Leverage your LinkedIn feed. In her LinkedIn article “Quick, Easy Tips for Staying in Touch With Your Network,” Cissy Chen recommends engaging with others by keeping an eye on your LinkedIn feed. When others share a post or publish an article, you can comment or ask a question to start a conversation.
Even with these tips, staying in touch with your network takes some time. But if you set aside a few hours each week to follow up with people, you’re much more likely to see people reciprocating your efforts.