WRITTEN BY: KATHRYN OLIVIERI
If you’ve had a job or internship, you have a network of previous coworkers and supervisors. This network is extremely valuable because these people know how you hard you work. If you do a good job and leave a positive impression, they remember you and could recommend you for positions down the road.
Keeping in touch keeps your name and accomplishments at the front of their mind and this allows for you to:
- Tap into this network when you are looking for opportunities
- Hear from this network about job opportunities when they become available (possibly before the position is even posted on a job site)
- Use individuals from this network as references. It is important to use references that remember you, admire your work ethic, and will advocate for you. You want people who are happy to brag about you, not people who hardly remember you. Keeping in touch allows for the relationship to continue and for you to keep a positive impression in that person’s mind.
Here are tips to stay in touch with this network:
1. Solve problems
- In any job there are nuances or ways in which the workflow can be improved. If you learn a new tool, shortcut, or even come across a program that could improve the company’s workflow, check in and share the idea. Email someone that you know at that company and say, “I saw this new tool and I thought it could be valuable for your workflow.”
- If you are on the company’s website and you realize that there is a glitch, email someone and let them know.
- The person contact may not end up using the tool, but you are reaching out, suggesting solutions to problems, and actively engaging about the company. These actions show that you care about the company and the people who are still working there.
2. Recommend Articles & Books
- Have you ever read an article or an excerpt in a book that reminded you of a conversation that you had with someone a few weeks or months ago? Reach out to that person and share the article!
- Did you do a tutorial online that you felt was really helpful on a program that you used at a company? Do you think it might be valuable for the people who are still working there? Share the link!
3. Ask for Advice
- You have a network where you can ask for advice on school projects, resume design and descriptions, cover letters, career opportunities or goals. Tap into that network. Reach out to people who you respect and admire. Ask them questions about their career goals and pick their brain about your own.
- If you are a designer and you are working on a school project, email it to a previous coworker or supervisor and ask for feedback. Maybe ask to meet for coffee to talk through ideas. Then share your finished product with them and thank them for their input.
4. Be Thankful
- Sharing how valuable someone’s input or work is to you is a great way to show your appreciation.
- If you ask for input on a school project, share the final project with that person and thank them for their feedback.
- Write thank you notes. They can improve someone’s day and if you’ve been working on a difficult project together, they are a great way to boost morale.
5. Be Responsive
If someone in your network reaches out to you, be responsive. It is always better to respond sooner rather than later, but we are all busy, so don’t feel bad or be discouraged if it takes you a few days or a week to respond. If someone sends you an article, you can send a quick response and say, “Thanks for this! I look forward to reading.” Then send a longer response later once you’ve had a chance to look through the article.
6. Recommend Your Network
Your network should work both ways. If you know that someone is a hard worker and is qualified for an available position, recommend them for the position or reach out and tell them about the position in case they are interested.
The real key is to stay in touch, be valuable, and build relationships. Don’t just reach out to people when you need something. Make sure that these people know that you value them, and if you follow these steps they will begin to value you as well.
What are other ways that you try to stay connected to your network?