Every week, NETSHARE hosts Ask the Coach, a phone-in coaching session with leading career management experts. Here is an excerpt from this week’s session with Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers based in New York City.
In our last blog post we noted that this is the perfect time to be networking. This week’s career coach, Barbara Safani, concurs, noting that this is the time to make the most of holiday cheer and to get back in touch with those contacts who may have fallen off your radar.
It can be a bit awkward reaching out to someone who has fallen out of your professional life. Things happen and people get busy and you don’t have time to keep up, and after a time you realize that you have not been in touch and maybe you have even fallen down on the job and missed a promise or two. Your friends and contacts who may have been close at one time have all but disappeared.
No matter! The holidays are the perfect time to re-establish those connections. You feel guilty about letting the relationship lapse, but chances are so does the other party. Networking is a two-way street, and if you were busy and forgetful then probably the other person shares the same feelings. The holidays offer you a chance to get reacquainted.
Use holiday greetings as an excuse to reconnect on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, etc. Reach out with an e-card or an email or a telephone call. Ask about their family, their hobbies, or some personal concern. What are their goals these days? If you open with such an icebreaker chances are the conversation will turn around to “and how are you,” which gives you a chance to bring them up to date on your successes and your goals. This is an excellent opportunity to ask if they know any experts who can offer counsel about a target company or market.
Remember that “out of office” responses are normal when you reach out via email in December. You should not be discouraged. Many recruiters may take time off until the New Year, but in tough economic times many are working through the holidays, while others leave someone to mind the store. Since things are slower and they are in a holiday mood, they might be more receptive to phone calls or even a chat over coffee. You can stand out from the crowd if you haven’t already packed it in for the season.
One of executive on the coaching call noted that whenever a recruiter views his LinkedIn profile, he immediately sends that recruiter a note offering to help with his search through his own network, and he almost always receives an email back from the recruiter.
Timing is everything, and the holidays are the perfect time to renew your connections and make some new ones. It’s also a good time to refresh your LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook profiles – our next Experts Connection session shows you how to approach low-maintenance social networking.