Connecting with others can truly help increase your overall feeling of self-worth and purpose. It can also lower our stress, help us live longer and decrease our risk of isolation and depression, but what about using those connections to grow your career?
When we think of work connections an image of a networking event with all the people shaking hands and awkward small talk might pop into your mind. But that's not always what effective networking looks.
"Old" connections are the people that we have identified, liked, and at some point in the past, shared a genuine connection. These connections may be colleagues from prior jobs, classmates, teammates, or just someone you've met and enjoyed their company in the past.
These connections are incredibly important to growing and maintaining your personal and professional network. David Burkus, networking specialist, revealed in a recent Ted Talk that,
"Networking comes not from reaching out to total strangers, but to old friends."
He shared that lost connections are the friends that you used to be close with, but for whatever reason, you don't talk to as much anymore. Although it’s easy to let a connection slip away, just like a friendship, it takes time and effort to maintain the connection.
Maintaining old connections is particularly important now and into the future because even though your contacts might not be able to help immediately with your job search, etc. they may one day.
What most people don't know is that you don't have to reach out to every single person you know or everyone on all of your social networks.
All it takes is just a few. Take a few minutes and make a list of 3 or 4 people you haven't spoken to in a while. Perhaps scroll all the way down to your friend list on Facebook or check your old texts.
You don't need to have an agenda or anything particular in mind when you do, just focus on reaching out and saying hello! From there see where the conversation goes.
According to CNBC, 80% of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections. With 35% of those surveyed revealing that a casual conversation has led to a new opportunity.
Reconnecting is not as hard as it may seem! Even if you are not overly outgoing, or nervous to ask for help, don't be! A simple "hello, how have you been?" works wonders as a simple way to reach out to your past connection and get the conversation started. More often than not that connection will feel lucky that out of everyone else you chose them!
Once you have reached out to your past connection it's time to look into their connections. This can be done by reaching out and saying, "Hi, I see that you are connected to (name the person you know) and I was wondering if you knew anyone in the (fill in the industry or company here) that you could introduce me to?"
You may be surprised at the connections they have and how they can help! It may not necessarily always be about who YOU know, but about who your connections know so don't overlook them!
A great place to begin is by with friends and friends of friends, but you could also consider this list as a follow up to building those initial connections:
The wonderful thing about life is that we are all different and therefore have different experiences and connections. You never know what someone else may have to offer you if you just take the time to say hello or ask!
A great place to network is also here in the Jobcase community
Would you consider reaching out to an old connection if it helped your career?