One of the hardest things about building your network might be finding reasons to reach out to these people when you don’t have an “ask.” After all, networking isn’t about just going to them when you need something -- like assistance, guidance or input; it’s about nurturing a mutually rewarding, long-term relationship.
Key Principles of Networking
Networks must have a mutual benefit. This means that you get value and I get value. While the value we receive doesn’t have to be the same (i.e., I might help you find a job, but I don’t need a job. Therefore, you might return the favor by offering me insight into my current work or efforts).
They also must be nurtured. To assume that you can connect with someone on LinkedIn and then three months later ask them to endorse you for a job is unrealistic. A professional relationship needs to be nurtured, cultivated and established to extract true value.
Networks also must be well-rounded. Not all your networking contacts will be people who can hire or transact with you directly. Some will provide counsel, mentoring or advice. Others will be more of a support network, giving you encouragement. Others still might offer influence to help you succeed or give you information you couldn’t otherwise gain.
Here are three reasons or excuses you might use to reach out to your network and engage them.
1. Update your network on where you are.
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to contact the people in your network only because you need something. It can be to update them on your military-to-civilian transition, your job search, your career progress and your life.
Perhaps the person in your network offered you guidance to help you find a viable post-military career. You could let them know how you’re doing, what advice they offered that was most meaningful and what didn’t work.
2. Offer something of value to them.
Perhaps someone in your network posted online that they’re looking for an introduction to someone at a company you know well. You could reach out to that person and ask more about their needs and even offer to facilitate the introduction if that feels appropriate.
3. Simply check in on them.
During the pandemic, everyone suddenly began working remotely, stress was at an all-time high and human connection was as hard to come by as toilet paper. Many professionals found themselves missing their contacts and networking connections. They may have been used to attending networking events, meetings, job fairs and other in-person gatherings to connect human to human.
Checking in with someone in your network just to see how they’re getting along, what their life is like and what they’re looking forward to for the remainder of the year is a generous and thoughtful gesture that solidifies the relationship.
The point of networking is that you’re as focused on helping and supporting those you network with as you are on what they can do for you. When you check in to see that they’re OK, let them know how you’re doing and offer them something of value (particularly unexpected!). This reinforces the relationship. Then, when you ask for something, they will be more inclined to want to help you, because you’ve invested in the relationship, not just sought to receive something from them.
-This news has been sourced from https://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/3-reasons-reach-out-your-network-stay-engaged-and-maintain-connections.html