5 years. It took Fiona five years to get back to a job she likes. She had taken a sabbatical right after she delivered a baby, and initially she thought two years is maximum she will be on break. But two years extended to five years. Reason: Fiona had never kept in touch with her colleagues who could've given her some lead when she started to look out for a job again.
Networking is the buzz word in this highly connected world. According to the data available from World Bank, there is a steady increase in the number of people using internet everyday. Keeping in touch with former colleagues is much easier these days – Linkedin, emails, chats, WhatsApp, Hangouts, Skype, Facebook, Twitter these social networking sites serve as important platforms for networking.
Corporate networks are great resources for recruiting employees, bringing in required funds (if needed), basically from business prospects to job offers. Employers and employees are beginning to see the reason why they should keep in touch. Networking with your former colleagues also give out the impression that one is serious about career.
When Fiona decided to get back at work, she was asked by companies to provide references. This was required for various reasons. The companies she was interested in, or were interested in her work, were also looking for positive feedback about her from her previous employer. They wanted to check on her abilities, as nobody knows about background, skills, qualities and performance like ex-colleagues. They’ve worked with her everyday for a considerable amount of time, under different circumstances to achieve certain goals. The strengths and weaknesses surely are known to them than any other. They are also in the knowhow about various jobs in different organisations through their connections. And while they can recommend you for a variety of positions, they can also expect you to do the same if they are in the same situation.
There are jobs which need networking at the highest possible level. Communication officers in different organisations are required to keep in touch with industry people, media, and the government. Important information are disseminated faster and also networking helps these people to push news where they is suppose to go. For.eg. if a journalist decides to join a corporate in communications team, it becomes important how his/her media contacts can help in his/her career growth.
Just not for recruitment or referrals, but there might be times that an employee moves on to become an entrepreneur. Keeping in touch with former colleagues, bosses might help them with funding, whether directly from them or from their connections.
As pointed out earlier, that there are different ways to keep in touch. No matter how you connect, just keeping lines of communication open with former co-workers could be doing wonders for career while staying social along the way.