Closing the loop.
In technical terms, it means the completion of a signal cycle from the input through the output phase usually associated with computer technology. Most business people know it as completing the circle of communication between friends, clients or in this case people who have been in your network during your job search.
In that case, closing the loop is simple to understand and easy to do, right? Well, a lot simpler and easier than managing the intricacies of a circuit board.
So why do so many people networking for jobs forget to advise their networks when they become re-employed? And worse, why do these same people only communicate when they are back in the job market again? My friend in senior leadership in Chicago told me he regularly encounters smart and savvy professionals who have a penchant for only surfacing when they are in need. Now that only lasts for so long. As John Lennon sang instant karma is going to get them.
So, it’s anybody’s guess about the reasons for this bad behavior. The risks are huge — severing your network connections, jeopardizing future job searches, and more important, compromising your personal brand. After all, you are the way you act,
Okay, so you get it. How can you close the loop and reinforce your network? Try these four steps:
- Timing Is Everything — reach out and thank your network immediately upon accepting an offer, although you might want to wait until you have been employed for two weeks. Err on the side of timely communications. I hate hearing about a colleague landing a job second hand.
- Professional and Personal Approach — nothing beats a personal note or phone call. An email could suffice, but to enhance your personal brand I recommend the former options. Do not send out a mass e-mail. Take 20 minutes and send the same content basis, but personalize it for your contact. And if someone was especially helpful, consider sending them a token of appreciation – – a Starbuck’s, Amazon or I-Tunes gift card is always appreciated.
- Make Networking A Career Habit — mind the future, so step back and evaluate who was most helpful to you, and plan to see that person at least twice a year, so your network stays warm and ready to assist you which can be sooner than you think in this turbulent economy. And add three people a month to your network. LinkedIn, industry conferences and even the golf course or college football game can start the beginning of a new relationship.
- Return The Favor — I tell someone who is networking with me that all I want in return is for them to do the same for another person with no connection to me. That is paying it forward. I also make them promise to speak my daughters when they are networking for a new position. Lately, I’ve been calling in that chit.
I am sure you have other ideas, but please pass this along to any job seeker, especially the younger people who may not appreciate karma’s work in all phases and aspects of their careers.
What other ways would you suggest to close the loop, enhance your network and reinforce your personal brand?
Kevin Donnellon has 35 years experience in marketing public relations where he specialized in sports, health and fitness and consumer packaged goods’ companies and brands. He has worked for the world’s most premier brands and most exciting start-ups on a number of award-winning campaigns. Kevin is an Evans Scholars alumnus and proud graduate of The Ohio State University.
2 thoughts on “Close the Loop: 4 Simple Steps to Maintain and Grow Your Network and Personal Brand”
This is one of the simplest and best articles I have ever read on good networking. Another networking article I read once that has always stuck with me said that networking is simply being a good friend, and you have taken that philosophy and put some flesh on the bones with your 4 steps, which are incredibly practical and focus on investing in professional relationships. If you are a regular writer or speaker, I would love to see/hear more of your stuff. Excellent piece.
Thanks so much, Jeff
I am currently a Junior at Southeast Missouri State University. I network often at events such as PRSSA conferences and socials. My question is how do I grow those relationships within my network, meaning how do I maintain the lines of communication even if I am not looking for employment at this current time.
Thanks so much in advance,