Finding a job is often a tedious process, especially today. Leveraging your network is one of the most important things that you can do to move the process along. With modern technology, it's easier than ever to stay in touch with people, but it's also easy to go overboard. You want to make sure that you maintain enough contact that they will easily remember you, but not so much that you become annoying. People are very busy, and it may take a while for them to get back to you, but if you are strategic in your communications with them, they may help you land your next job. Here are some tips from a recent CareerBuilder article "Stay Connected to Your Network Without Being a Pest":
1. Use social media to your advantage: Social media may be the easiest way to stay connected to colleagues, friends and people you aren't in touch with on a regular basis. The way that you interact with these various groups, however, is not the same. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are very different ways of communicating. Figure out how each person uses social media and stay in contact that way. Reaching out to say hello every once in a while or sharing an article are good ways of staying on their radar without being a pest.
2. Meet them for drinks or lunch: This option isn't right for everyone in your network. Reserve regular in-person meetings for people you enjoy spending time with and know on a more personal level. Lunch or coffee is a good time to connect and make sure they are keeping you in mind for any job openings they might come across.
3. Make the relationship mutually beneficial: When you interact with your network, don't just talk about yourself the entire time. Make sure to ask about them and talk about topics that make it clear that you aren't just using them for their connections. Be a resource for them - if you come across a position that would be a good fit for someone in your network, let them know. They may be in the same position as you.
For the entire CareerBuilder list, check out the article here. Additionally, Cancer and Careers has several resources on networking, including our Guide to LinkedIn and video outlining the Keys to Being a Successful Networker.
Image courtesy of mbda.gov.