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Job Change? Don’t Forget to Network on the Way Out

You are interviewing for a new job, and it looks promising. Now, your new employer wants references, and you can’t use your current manager. You were great in your previous job, but that was three years ago and you haven’t seen your old manager since. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, it’s not surprising. People tend to neglect networking as they transition to a new job.

Reticence about networking while leaving your job for a new one is understandable. Networking is likely the last thing on your mind after your job search has succeeded, and moving to a new job can be a very busy time in your life. Yet, the transition presents you with an important opportunity to strengthen your network and make your next job search easier. Let us walk through the basics of networking while transitioning to a new job at a different company.

Networking with Your Soon-to-be Former Manager and Co-workers

Perceived awkwardness may stop you from networking with your manager. It probably is not as awkward as you think. Even if the manager is bummed, they get it. Typically, they are sad to lose you but, happy for you at the same time. That means now is the right time to look them in the eye and say, “I’d really love to keep in touch.”

Connecting on LinkedIn or other social media channels, as well as exchanging personal emails or cell phone numbers, offers you a much better chance to find them in three years when you are back on the job market. Ask for a reference and offer to do the same for them. Remember, networking is a two way street. Afterwards, check in from time to time to keep the relationship going. The same advice can be true for key coworkers and the people you have managed successfully.

Networking with Other Contacts

Networking means giving people an opportunity to connect with you. Use your job transition to reconnect with your network. Update your colleagues on LinkedIn as you update your profile. Consider sending out emails describing your transition. Be inquisitive and ask people good questions; these conversations and connections provide both sides with a chance to enhance their networks.

Leaving a job can be hectic and stressful. Networking may not be on the top of your to do list, but it can pay off the next time you search for a job. It is a bit like updating your resume once a year, even when not on the job market. It is something many people wish they had done. Make future job searches easier by taking advantage of this unique networking opportunity.

Photo credit: Joy Gayler

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