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Reconnect with your Long Lost Network

By Kate Grove

So, it’s the middle of the semester, you’re either about to graduate or you’re counting the days until summer vacation and you need a job or an internship, fast! You’ve lost touch with your old contacts because the semester has been crazy and you haven’t really had time to keep in touch. Now what?!

More likely than not, those connections are the best place to start (or continue) your job or internship search despite the length of time since you last made contact. But, how do you go about reconnecting with your old contacts? Your mom’s friend from work who you emailed in September might have forgotten about you or the professional you met randomly in a coffee shop who offered you his card might not have a clue who you are, or remember ever speaking to you.

Sometimes trying to reconnect with those we’ve lost touch with can be awkward or intimidating. So, to help ease your networking angst here are my best suggestions on how to revive your long lost network.

Decide to take action

Don’t quit before you even get started by assuming that an old connection won’t want to hear from you! First, allow yourself to be human and acknowledge that you know it’s been a while since you’ve been in contact and apologize for losing touch. Be gracious and take ownership of losing track of time. It may also remove any anxiety the connection had about not taking the time to keep in touch with you.

Show a genuine interest in what they’ve been doing

Chances are the connection knows there is a reason why you’re connecting with them. But, you don’t want to just jump right in with both feet and ask for a recommendation or for them to make a connection for you. Make sure to first, show a genuine interest in what they, and their company, have been up to. If it’s a personal connection, ask about how they are, how their family is or other interests you have in common. If it’s more of a professional contact ask about how business is going. The goal is to find the rapport you once had with the connection so you can pick up where you left off. Once you’ve rekindled the relationship, now it’s acceptable to ask for their help.

Don’t lose touch again

Now that you’ve reached out and reconnected with your contact be careful not to lose touch again! A connection might not take as kindly to your request the next time if it’s been another few months since they’ve heard from you. You want to avoid making your connection feel like just a connection. Don’t abuse the relationship. I’d recommend following up with connections at least once a month. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin to make it easier to keep in touch. And if they do, in fact, make a useful for connection for you don’t forget to thank them! Send a handwritten note thanking them for their help or shoot them a quick email showing your appreciation. Most importantly, if they in turn ask something of you, make turn your return the favor and help them out, too!

If you’ve lost touch with all your connections, don’t worry. There is still time to reconnect and see what they have to offer. This advice will work for employers you’ve met at our career fairs, too! Maybe it won’t be a job or internship as soon as the semester is over but, with time all your networking will pay off. If you need help networking, check out my blog about networking on social media, Facebook to Fully Employed for some guidance. Social media makes it easier than ever to make and keep connections. Reach out to your long lost connections, take some action and keep in touch!

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