Connections & Relationships

June 2013

Connections to your past can make or break you when you’re interviewing for jobs. The closer you get to landing your new gig, the closer you are to being asked for references.  Most people have a short list of references available but it’s good to be as proactive as possible to assure these are polished and ready to go.  Many people are unable to use their current manager as a reference and then need to dig into their network a little bit deeper.   The depth of your relationships will be tested.   Maybe your previous role was four or five years ago but you’ve lost touch with your manager.  You know she would say great things but when did you last speak?  Do you have her current contact information to pass along?

Our wired world has made life a whole lot easier when it comes to staying connected, but from my perspective you still need to have a strong relationship in place and not just a simple online connection.  Networking is work.  Staying in touch is work.  Everybody gets busy with life and these ties can fade. 

Investing in Your Network
These relationships are gold and in order to get an edge versus other candidates, you should put in the extra effort to stay in touch.  Take the time to pick up the phone or grab a coffee with key figures from your past – managers, executives, and peers. The good news is that getting back in touch is so much more fluid today with tools like LinkedIn.  By simply spending an hour or two on LinkedIn each week, you make an investment in your network.  Use this time to add connections or send an InMail to stay in touch.   But - when getting back in touch don’t just send the generic invite or message.  Write something that is customized for each person so they know you invested the time to personalize it.  Find out what career moves your colleagues have made along the way and compliment them.  Even better, you could offer to make introductions to new contacts and help them find new opportunities.

This effort will come back ten fold.  By being active, interested and available to your colleagues, you will naturally develop a solid list of references that can support you as you build and grow your career.