Some years ago, I was working for an employment agency where the owner was “difficult.” I won’t go into details other than to say that the environment he created was perpetually tense and stressful far beyond what is normally derived from the work itself. I was very successful there so he tempered his “being difficult” with me – sometimes. But he listened in on telephone calls and kept logs of computer activity. His personal conduct with an employee was so bad that he was sued in an episode that made the wire services and newspapers around the United States.
When I decided to change jobs, like you, I had to look at my options and consider going to work in a new environment, with new people, systems and problems. I called a former employee whom I had trained and maintained contact with and asked him about the company he joined.
He invited me over. I met with several people and decided that this was the place to join after our son’s adoption was completed. I joined in March, 2002.
Could I have answered ads and spoken with twenty or thirty agencies before joining? You bet. But I knew a lot about this shop before joining and that made a huge difference to me.
So who is your network of contacts and how will you maintain contact with them? Well, you probably have friends and family that you could call upon. If you’re religious, there might be members of your place of worship. But the key people you need to maintain some relationships with are former colleagues and bosses.
First of all, you will probably need references at some juncture in your career and who is better to praise your work than people who have seen it and will speak kindly of it.
But the biggest reason is that maintaining contact with former colleagues or managers will give you the potential for entrée into the next company you join.
After all, they may join in leadership roles where they need to hire and may wish to hire you because your skills blend with their needs and they already trust you to deliver on an assignment.
Secondly, they will hear about others who may need what you have to offer.
But the simplest reason to do this is that it extends your reach to many more people beyond your own circle of influence.
So before deleting them from your cell phone or address book, consider calling them to say hi and catch up. Or send them a quick note to let them know what you’re up to. A Christmas card or e-mail works wonders.
Don’t wait too long. They may change jobs again and your ability to contact them may evaporate.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2008, 2016
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.
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