Staying On The Radar – How To Keep Your Networks Alive
It’s a common observation that once you leave a senior influential role, the waters appear to close over.
And pretty quickly too; before you know it, you’ve become yesterday’s (wo)man.
As one Rutbusters’ client soulfully commented ‘all I can talk about is what I used to be; I haven’t established what and who I am now. I feel exposed and pretty worthless without my previous title and position.’
So what can be done to keep you current, interesting, and interested when you step off your present conveyor belt and prepare to move on to the next travelator?
Wise words from Dr Seuss
The first thing is to acknowledge that you still have the skills, personality and abilities that were required to get you to where you were; your personal ‘value’ is not diminished.
As Dr Seuss wrote ‘Today you are you and you are youer than you. There is no one alive who is youer than you’.
Your value and unique combination of traits, knowledge and abilities as one of eight billion people on the planet is as ever it was!
The second thing is to put effort, time and structure into maintaining, nurturing and expanding your networks. Whether you’re looking for new earning (or giving) opportunities in a similar or new field; exposure to new ideas, and perspectives to expand and develop your knowledge and skills; or simply need mentorship and guidance as you navigate this next life phase, networking is key.
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Consider the following:
Make plans to keep in regular contact with former colleagues
What activities did you enjoy doing together that you could take the lead in arranging?
- Schedule regular catch-ups with former colleagues and make sure to follow through on them.
- Consider arranging activities that you both enjoyed doing together in the past, such as attending concerts, going hiking, or having lunch together.
- Take the initiative to organize events, such as networking gatherings, that bring your former colleagues together.
Update your LinkedIn profile, comment and share posts.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and accurately reflects your current experience and skills.
- Engage with your network by commenting on and sharing posts relevant to your industry or interests.
- Post regular updates about your professional achievements or projects to keep your network informed and engaged.
Photo by braincontour
Consider creating WhatsApp groups through which you can share regular updates/a joke/interesting links
- Create a WhatsApp group with former colleagues or other professionals in your network to share updates, news, and interesting links.
- Set a regular schedule for sharing updates, such as once a week or once a month.
- Use the group as a platform for discussions, asking for advice, or seeking feedback.
Keep your finger on the pulse
Whilst invitations to sector events and professional networks may dry up, subscribe and contribute to relevant newsletters, LinkedIn forums and other online communities.
- Subscribe to relevant newsletters, LinkedIn forums, and online communities to stay up to date on industry news and trends.
- Contribute to discussions and share your insights and experiences.
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Offer to mentor junior colleagues to keep an ‘ear to the ground’.
Consider offering to mentor junior colleagues or participate in professional development programs to expand your network and stay connected to your industry.
This is a win-win. Mentors gain satisfaction from helping others and sharing their expertise, while mentees benefit from guidance and support to develop their skills and reach their goals. Mentoring also helps build professional networks and can lead to new opportunities and partnerships.
Reconnect with previous contacts
Unless there was something that went ‘wrong’, most people are delighted (and flattered) to be remembered and reconnected with.
- Reach out to former colleagues or other professionals you have lost touch with.
- Be genuine in your approach and express your interest in reconnecting.
- Offer to catch up over coffee or arrange a phone call to chat and catch up.
Volunteering is an excellent way to expand and develop new networks. Consider what interests you and how you might contribute your time, advice, and support.
- Look for volunteer opportunities that align with your interests and skills.
- Seek out organizations or causes that you are passionate about and want to support.
- Use volunteering as an opportunity to meet new people and expand your network, while also contributing to a worthy cause.
- Join professional associations: Professional associations are a great way to meet like-minded professionals in your industry. Joining and actively participating in these organizations can help you stay on top of industry trends, while also keeping you connected to your peers.
Photo by Christian Battaglia on Unsplash
Remember the golden rule of networking…
Whilst networking so often seems to be motivated by ‘want’, ie individuals looking for clients and opportunities, the true secret to successful networking is to ‘give’.
Coming from a position of contributing rather than taking make often makes yields better results (not to mention making the experience more enjoyable!).
‘Think not what you can take from the world, but rather ask what you can give to it.’ Anon.
Final thoughts on staying on the radar
Remember that staying on the radar is not just about maintaining your contacts, it’s about keeping yourself relevant, interesting and interested.
It’s about being the person people want to have at their dinner parties, not just because you go way back, but because you have something to say.
So go ahead, update your LinkedIn profiles, join those WhatsApp groups, and reconnect with your old colleagues.
But don’t forget to also pursue your passions, volunteer for causes you believe in, and stay curious about the world around you. After all, as Oscar Wilde once said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
Here’s to staying on the radar.
Are you considering hopping off the conveyor belt but are not sure what comes next? It can be worrying, often leading us to put off making a decision which is beneficial to us.
At Rutbusters we help senior-level professionals make the change that puts life fulfilment first. Whether it’s a new career, retirement, or something else entirely, we can help you make the best of it. Why not get in touch?