Inevitably, when you stop working full time (at an office), there will come a time when you lose contact with your colleagues. If you start freelancing and doing your work online, you also tend to isolate yourself quite a bit.
It’s inevitable that this should happen, though it need not be or stay that way!
Humans are social animals. Even if you can’t go out for a drink, lunch or dinner, or attend activities that require more cash than you have to play with, you should keep in touch with former colleagues.
These are the folks that will serve as your references in your job search. It is to your benefit to continue to have a relationship with them.
There are other reasons, that are just as valuable, to keep in touch. Through the professional network, and that is what it is (a network is a system that relies on connections and in your network you are that connection), you will keep informed on what is happening in your immediate circuits.
Not only will you be up-to-date on where people are going, but also on trends and jobs possibly before it becomes publicly known.
People are variables as well as factors, if you allow the mathematical reference. Therefore, it is important that you keep in touch because people may be let go, they may quit or retire, people may move, lose their phones and get new ones…
Keeping in touch makes you more likely to stay abreast of all the changes that go on even if you are not a part of your network’s daily life.
It is likely, especially if you are in the midst of a job search, that you have seen all these points illustrated in dozens of different articles and for many of the same reasons I have posted here.
There is another, vital, reason you ought to stay in touch with former colleagues: they know your work and your professional ethic, and they admire and respect you.
This is important because, inevitably, you’ll hit a wall and start feeling that perhaps you’ve fallen in a Twilight Zone and will never, ever find work in this universe.
Don't despair, periods of unemployment always feel a lot longer than they actually are. If you feel your resolve begin to unravel, speak to one of the people in your network and allow yourself to see what they see in you.
It’s not just that you will get a confidence booster. Pay close attention because what these people tell you will often include examples of why they feel the way they do about you, knowing you, having worked with you.
These details are the selling points you must convey to prospective employers because it is what gives you an edge!
E-mail, call, visit whenever you can – if for no other reason than to remind your contacts what you look like and that you value their presence in your life. Their acquaintance is far more valuable than just a good word on your behalf.
Professional networks are lifelines, literally and figuratively, and you must treat them with respect for their extraordinary worth.Maintaining these relationships will help you keep your foot in the door, as it were, it also will help you cultivate your professional persona (so you can talk the talk and walk the walk) -- and this alone will make interviewing easier because you will not feel as if you've lost your professional mojo.