If you’ve got stacks of business cards lying around, and have found yourself adding dozens of new names to your contact list as result of your job search efforts, congratulations — this is definitely a sign that you’re putting some serious energy and effort into the networking process!
It’s important to note, however, that great networking is as much about quality as it is about quantity, and many people make the mistake of focusing exclusively on building new contacts instead of following-up regularly with the people they’ve already met. Many opportunities are likely lost, in fact, because job hunters don’t realize the importance of keeping their current network updated, engaged, and energized. Why do we suspect this? Because even among our own client base, we’ve noted that some individuals keep us constantly in the loop regarding their progress and efforts — while others disappear without a trace for months at a time. And in case you’re wondering which group tends to transition faster into new jobs, we can assure you that it’s the former, not the latter.
So if you’re currently in a job search, yourself, we’d strongly suggest that you try and make contact with every single person in your network at least once per month until you’ve landed your next assignment. A month may seem to pass by quickly, to you, but remember that the perception of time is always a bit different for job seekers given the emotional turbulence, pressure, and lack of daily structure that goes along with the process. So every 30 days, drop each of the folks you know a line and remind them of the types of jobs you’re pursuing. Keep them updated on your progress. Let them know where you’re interviewing. Ensure they have copies of your updated resume. Send them leads and resources that they might be able to use, themselves. It doesn’t really matter what type of content you pass along, exactly; the key is to infuse SOME type of energy back into the relationship on a periodic basis so that people don’t forget about you — or stop searching for opportunities on your behalf.
In order to facilitate this habit, you may need to create some sort of “tickler” system to keep track of each contact you have with people and to schedule the next time you need to check in with them. Whatever works for you, go for it! As long as you don’t end up bugging them TOO frequently (“Hey Joe, it’s your daily 10:00 call from your favorite job hunter!”) and always make a point to bring something new to the conversation, they’ll appreciate your follow-through and the seriousness with which you are taking your job-finding efforts. Fail to do this, and there’s a good chance these key allies you’re counting on might assume you’ve already landed a job somewhere — and be adding zero to your networking efforts!