If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you are not locked in a frenzy of last-minute shopping and stressed out crowds…all my shopping was done online. So I can relax, focus on family and the real reason for the season.
Anyway, I won’t hold you for long…just wanted to stop by and give you another burst of inspiration and motivation for your career. On the ninth day of the holidays, my executive career coach said to me:
Build relationships and expand your network
It is easy to convince ourselves that we are strong and competent enough to handle life’s (work/career/family) issues on our own, but the reality is that we all benefit from blessing others and being blessed by others.
When you consider how much impact a personal referral, a solid LinkedIn testimonial and an internal advocate in your target company makes in your career…you must agree that getting connected and staying connected to others makes good sense, not only for your career, but also for life on the whole.
Personally, I love Facebook because in the past three years, it has connected me to new friends and re-connected me with people from all phases of my life – from Pre-K through college and beyond. Pretty incredible, huh?
Beyond the occasional email introductions, are you really connected to your network?
If you have been happily employed for many years, that is great, but it is no excuse for neglecting your network or taking your personal/professional contacts for granted. So how do you stay in touch with people throughout the year without being intrusive?
- Make a list of birthdays and anniversaries and acknowledge them by physical card or e-card. If you are close to the person, acknowledging their children’s birthdays is not a bad idea.
- Make an effort to send out annual emails just to check in – how are you, what’s new, still at the same job, etc
- Make sure to inform your contacts every time you get a promotion, new job, interesting or high-profile project to keep them current on your career. Remember to be receptive and congratulatory when you receive the same information.
- Make plans to meet in person with your top-tier contacts every quarter if you live in the same city, state or regional area
- Make yourself available for recommendations or referrals when your contacts are seeking to make career moves or need your support
- Make strategic use of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to give everyone brief, but informational updates on your weekly activities
It takes more than building a network for effective executive career management, you have to go the extra mile to keep your network fresh, current and engaged.