I often get asked what to do regarding networking when you’re working and you’re not looking for a job?
A lot of people neglect their network when they start a new job and then it becomes harder to reach out to people you might not have spoken to in a while. I am not a big fan of the small talk myself – so what do you say when you contact someone?
You might want to start with call:
“Hello Mark, it is Margaret Buj here. It’s been a while since we’ve worked together at X (or seen each other at Y event). Your name popped out on LinkedIn and I thought “We haven’t spoken for a long time and I should call him!” I’d love to reconnect, see what you’ve been up to and catch up.”
Then leave your contact details if you’re leaving a voicemail.
When you do speak, start with genuine curiosity. Here are some questions you might want to use:
What’s happened since you’ve last talked?
What interesting changes have occurred?
Reference something from their LinkedIn profile, or website and ask for them to elaborate and tell you about it?
Do they keep in touch with other mutual contacts you have?
What projects are they working on and what resources are they looking for? You may able to recommend them resources to help.
You can also consider meeting someone you know at a networking event – that way you can catch up while still meeting new people. Here are some actions to nurture your new and existing relationships:
1) Write down notes after the meeting: As soon as the event is over, make some notes on the conversations you’ve had, on the people you’ve met and actions to implement.
2) Contact them and begin a dialogue: Write an email indicating that you enjoyed meeting them and why it would make sense to continue the conversation. You can start by asking the person what they thought of the event via email.
3) Connect on social media: Send a LinkedIn invitation to your new contact with a note that you’ve enjoyed meeting them at the event where you met. You might want to follow them on Twitter as well.
4) Arrange a phone call or a meeting: If you both want to keep in contact, you might want to suggest a brief phone call. However, it is important you make it clear how the call can benefit both of you – not just you! If appropriate, you might even want to suggest a face to face meeting with contacts who have the most potential or where it simply makes sense. When you meet, show interest in who they are and what they do professionally.
5) Look for ways to offer value. Can you perhaps introduce two people who might be able to help each other? You might also want to send an article or book reference, relevant to something you discussed will show that you listened to the conversation.
Very important – do NOT automatically add anyone to any mailing list you might have without permission – I hate when people do that and consider it a spam.
Networking can take time and energy but you shouldn’t wait until you’ve lost your job to start networking. Small but consistent investment of time each week/month can bring huge dividends in the future for you and your network.
To learn more about using LinkedIn for networking as well as finding jobs in a hidden jobs market, sign up for my FREE video training “Smart strategies to help you get interviews”.