Networking is important, but reaching out at the right time can make the difference between a successful connection and one that goes overlooked. Here are the two best times to leverage your network, and three times you should never reach out.
Best Times to Reach Out to Your Network
You have a job and are happy
If you are happy in whatever you are doing now, there is no better time to nurture your network and keep relationships fresh. You are at your most employable, most marketable, and most attractive when you yourself are actively working, so why not take advantage? Employers love to hear about people they can’t have and can’t wait to poach you from someone else. Knowing this, reach out to three or four people a month to give them an update on your successes and the test the market. You might find something better and can get there with minimal effort.
You are about to look for a job and need ideas
OK, you are employed but now you are on the hunt for something new. Definitely time to hit up your network. Do not send a blast email; keep things personal and send individual and well thought-out notes. Research the contact in your network thoroughly and know what you want from them – typically more contacts, an introduction, and if you are comfortable, a job inquiry. Have a specific goal in mind and don’t waste your contact’s time.
Worst Times to Reach Out to Your Network
You’ve been unemployed for six months
Where have you been? Why are you reaching out to your networks now? You’re not six months late, you’re nine months late! What’s the point of having your network if you aren’t in constant contact with them.
Everyone is waiting on their bonus. Try back in March.
Everyone is on vacation. Try back after Labor Day.
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.