Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Step Three: Warm Up Your Network
“Warm-up my network? What do you mean?”
“Ruth, this is a great time to reach out to everyone in your network and reconnect. We are in lockdown crisis mode and have lost physical contact with our extended personal networks. Now is the time to reach out to everyone.”
“How do I know who to reach out to?”
“You mean family and close friends?”
“Yes and no. Not JUST family and close friends, but everyone you know from past projects, past working experiences, people who have left your current project and taken other positions. Alumni from graduate school you used to speak with but gradually dropped off calling. Everyone.”
“But I don’t want to call people and ask for a job or help when we are in this crisis. And also, I am not looking for a job.”
“At no time, crisis or not, are you going to call people and ask for a job.”
“I don’t understand.”
You Network Every Day
As a recent article in HubSpot notes, “Networking is a buzzword that many of us have a serious love/hate relationship with.” Yet, we are networking all the time.
Every day you are talking to people about restaurants, movies, cars, child-rearing, TV series, and more. You ask for advice about schools, colleges, certifications, vacations, and much more. This is how you fill certain parts of your life. This IS networking.
Every call or meeting, business or personal, is networking.
The goal of Warming Up Your Network is not to ask for a job or seek help, but to reconnect with people. At this juncture, you are just calling them up to see how they are doing during the crisis. You are sharing stories and insights.
Even if you are not currently looking or even planning to look for a new position, now is an excellent time to begin your own personal networking.
Who Is on My List?
Make this a formal list. Personal connections are important.
Track and grow your list with goals to enrich your life and their lives. The more names, the greater the chance for enrichment and connection – personal and business enrichment. You don’t know who has a sister in Central America who can give insider information about visiting Costa Rica, or a brother who launched a PC repair business just 3 blocks from your home. Job opportunities are just one among the many things that can enrich your life.
The people you are reconnecting with include current acquaintances and people who were somehow dropped over the months and years yet should still be on your personal or business lists. Remember, this is not about “getting a job.” Think of people who should never have dropped off your list of connections.
What do I Say?
We call this “warming up your network.” Really, this network should never have become “cold.” But the world is busy, and we are inundated with work and distractions.
Steps to Follow:
“Hi. We haven’t spoken in a long time, but I was thinking about…”
“Hi. I wanted to reach out and let you know I was thinking about you.”
“Hi. It’s been a long time. But I had to reach out and say…”
“How will this help my career when the crisis is past?” Ruth asked.
Warming up your network means that another call from you in 2 to 3 months will not be a surprise. You are planting a seed that gets your network to think about you constantly. For you, the calling and reaching out is a continuous process, but to individuals in your network, it will appear to be every couple of months.
Eventually, when the timing is right and you are seeking a new position, you will have exactly the same conversations with your network. You will add one more question, “If you know anyone who would like to talk to me…”