We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s all about who you know.” It’s been reiterated from our family and friends as well as from mentors, college professors and even previous supervisors. When it comes to your career, this is especially important. Knowing the right person can be the key to your success in any given career path.
However, what happens when you’ve lost touch with a professional contact or a certain mentor that you were close with years ago? What if you’re back on the job market and need help? How do you rekindle that relationship? Here are some tips to help make these potentially uncomfortable exchanges a little less awkward.
Drop the agenda
The best approach to any kind of reconnection is to be genuine with the other person. Reach out to your professional network for thoughts, insights, or advice. Try not to get too focused on getting something in return such as a job, a reference, or a referral. For the first few conversations and interactions drop the agenda and simply focus on reconnecting. If they want to help, they will offer to help.
Acknowledge the Time Lapse
Acting as if you haven’t lost touch is not the best course of action when reconnecting. Acknowledge the disconnect and be up front and honest about the time lapse. There’s no need to make excuses for why you haven’t reached out or stayed in touch, everyone is busy. It’s normal for people to lose touch. Be sure to give a quick update on what you’ve been doing and be sincere about why you’re reaching out.
Explain Why Now
What motivated you to reach out? Why now? Whether you’re looking for advice, asking for a reference, or simply hoping to reconnect, respect the person’s time and get to the point. You don’t want to dance around the issue; it’s better to be honest about what you need. At the end of the day, they will appreciate your honesty.
Say Thank You
Your strongest asset is the professional network that you have created. Be courteous and thank them in advance for their help. If they offer to be a reference, be sure to keep them updated throughout the interview process. Even if the job doesn’t work out, let them know. Staying in touch will ensure a good connection for future opportunities. You never know who might be able to assist you in the future so always make a lasting, genuine impression.
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