I’ve always heard you should regularly communicate with members of your network to avoid “using” them only when you need them to find a job.
How do you keep tabs on your network contacts if you have nothing major to report?
The Career Doctor responds:
Find ways to share information with them that is not necessarily about you but will interest them. Send your contacts clippings of articles that will be of interest to them with a sticky note attached that says “Saw this article and thought of you.” If your company produces publications that would be of interest to your contacts have them placed on the subscription list. Let them know of events they might be interested in attending. Consider sending amusing cartoons you’ve clipped or even photos.
After you’ve met a new contact you can send a quick postcard to mention how much you enjoyed meeting him or her. Make it a picture postcard of a local site and you can make an inexpensive yet memorable impression.
For someone who has been helpful beyond your wildest dreams a grand gesture such as sending flowers or a lunch invitation would not be out of line. Send holiday and birthday cards. You’ll really impress people if you can pick up on a mention of when their birthday is from casual conversation. They’ll be amazed that you remembered their special day and sent a card.