A common situation that occurs for many executives is allowing their network to go stagnant. It’s easy to do when you have a stable job, have no intention of leaving your job, and are too busy to reach out to your connections. However, it’s important to keep a solid, active network even when you’re not on a job search, just so your name and brand are still at the top of people’s minds. The reality is people have to rebuild their executive network all the time. So how do you go about restoring and strengthening your current network? A good place to start is by updating your LinkedIn profile. Once that is done, just jump right into rekindling relationships you’ve had in the past with other executives. Here are six strategies to restore and strengthen your network if it has gone stale.
Start With Personal Branding
Don’t reach out to people in your network until you’ve solidified your personal branding strategy. This involves targeting and researching other professionals to determine whether what you have to offer will meet their specific needs. And you also have to know what you want in return. People enjoy helping people, so provide value, and you will receive the rewards you want in return.
Contact Your Current Connections
Once you start contacting your current connections, you’ll soon realize other executives understand that you have lost touch. A quick apology for not staying connected is sometimes all it takes to rekindle the relationship. Everyone is busy, so it’s tough to keep in touch.
Don’t Be Pushy
If you reach out to a contact over LinkedIn, they will have likely looked at your executive profile to know your employment position. Even though you may be actively looking for a job, you don’t have to explicitly state it to your contact. The worst thing you can do when rebuilding your executive network is make the other person feel bad or guilty during a conversation.
Develop New Relationships
Once you’ve reestablished connections with several professionals, start expanding your network to include new people. View the LinkedIn profiles of different people in your industry and see if you have similar interests. Don’t hesitate to invite them to connect, as other professionals are usually always willing to expand their network as well.
Ask for Expert Advice
Your executive profile should state your job status, so you don’t need to restate it to your contacts when rebuilding your executive network. If you feel like you need to tell them about your situation, then ask for their advice on finding a job, rather than explicitly asking for recommendations. People are much more willing to offer their own advice to you rather than going out of their way to help you find a job.
Be Active on LinkedIn
If you are inviting current and new people to connect through LinkedIn, make sure your profile is up-to-date. This includes having your information current and being active on the platform. Being active on LinkedIn simply means talking to people privately, communicating in LinkedIn groups, sharing updates, and posting new content. You don’t have to spend a significant amount of time on a daily basis with your LinkedIn actions, but when people know you’re engaged, they will more likely connect with you.
The importance of having a large network today can’t be understated. Sometimes revamping your LinkedIn profile is all you need to get back on the right track of having a strong network. If you set a goal of time each day to reconnect, in no time you will have developed an active and healthy executive network.
Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, named one of Forbes “Top 100 Career Websites”. Considered an influencer, she is consistently listed as a “Top Career Expert to Follow” on Twitter and LinkedIn.