Everyone knows that, in normal times, networking is the key to any comprehensive job search. Of course, these aren’t exactly normal times. With the coronavirus outbreak, tens of millions of workers have seen their career trajectories fly off course. How does this impact the networking process? How can you reconnect with your network in a time of social distancing?
Actually, despite the isolation implied by lockdowns and quarantines, the new emphasis on remote communication has a lot of value in terms of maintaining your network. It gives you the opportunity (and the excuse) to reconnect with contacts you haven’t interacted within some time.
Of course, you probably don’t need much convincing on the subject of networking. It provides the engine for most successful job searches. Survey results reported by LinkedIn showed that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. That means if you’re not using this technique, you’re basically hoping to hit a 1-in-7 long shot.
However, getting the most out of your connections requires some maintenance. To use that network, first, you have to build it. And, having built it, you have to constantly cultivate it. You need to keep your contacts up-to-date and nurture relationships so that people are ready to help out when you need it.
You don’t want to reach out to a contact when you’re looking for a job and get the dreaded reply, “who’s this?” That kind of response can be a gut-punch when it comes up in a dating situation. In career-building terms, it can be a significant momentum-killer.
With all that in mind, here are four tips to consider when reconnecting with your network:
Don’t Sweat How Long It’s Been
If you’ve been a little negligent in maintaining your network, don’t let that stop you from getting back at it. Don’t say, “oh, it would be weird if I reached out after all this time.” Sure, it might be a little awkward. But if you don’t do it, things will only get worse. After all, if you don’t reach out now, the time-lapse between communications will only get longer.
Start Out Short
Start by making contact. Send out a short ping meant as an ice breaker. Don’t launch into a 1,000-word opus on how your career has progressed since you last spoke. They don’t need to read a chapter from your autobiography. Rather, begin by touching base, and get into more depth in subsequent messages.
Make It Personal
You might be tempted to try a mass-marketing approach, sending the same message to dozens of people. It makes a certain kind of sense: you want to be as efficient as possible. However, this technique can become counterproductive.
Instead of using the shotgun method, target each message for the individual recipient. It might take a little more time, but you’ll get a better response. At the same time, you’ll increase your ability to nurture real relationships – the kind that will be there for you when you need a career boost.
Your goal in this reconnection process is to generate back-and-forth communication. The best way to engage your contacts is to ask questions. This doesn’t just increase your chances of a meaningful response, allowing you to deepen your connection with your contact. The answers can also provide valuable information about the market and about the current state of your industry. In this way, you can benefit from your network, even if you’re not currently searching for a new position.
Networking should provide the bedrock for any job search. However, there are different ways to network. By teaming up with a strong recruiting firm, like DHR, you plug into a vast professional network. They can easily find you the ideal position for your skills and experience.
Contact DHR today to upgrade your job search.