Is It Important to Keep in Touch With Your Ex-Boss?
The answer to this question is YES, definitely YES (if you had a good relationship with your ex-boss and if you were a good employee). Networking is essential for everyone who wants to achieve professional success. Your former colleagues, and yes, bosses, are a legitimate goldmine when it comes to creating connections.
It is true that people you have worked for (or with) will commonly be in a position to help you to find a new job. They know you, your biography, your flaws, and your strengths. Most importantly, they have worked in the same field as you are. Putting a good word in, writing letters of recommendation, or simply introducing you to other people can be of immeasurable value. And if they do not ever introduce you to anyone, at the very least, they can confirm the obligations you had at their firm.
Unfortunately, staying in touch is really difficult. It takes time, effort, and it can be very awkward. This is so because if you forgot about them for a year, reaching out can feel and look very self-centered. However, solving this issue is rather simple. Just contact them periodically to avoid jumping out at them out of the blue asking for favors.
Since we have admitted ourselves that this is no easy task, we have decided to share this short list of five simple ways to keep in touch with your previous bosses (or colleagues).
This is the perfect excuse to remind anyone out there that you exist, and that you remember them. It is very professional and “All the luck in the New Year” is something you can send to just about anyone. Rarely will you find a person who dislikes receiving these. Furthermore, you will make them feel special. However, keep in mind that you should avoid offending people. Use a non-denominational greeting (unless you are 100% sure that you will not offend anyone) and avoid humor.
Major Life Events
Sending out new contact information is a good way to reach out for no reason and simply stay in their mind. If you moved, you could send them your new address or your new phone number. If you had to change your email after getting married, or if you decided to travel the world for a while and decided to give them the needed information on how to contact you. It will show both the interest of staying in touch and make the entire thing personal. They will feel included in your personal life by the mere fact that you included them into something personal like this.
Major Professional Changes
Did you get a promotion or a new job? Well, inform your previous boss. Add a little gratitude for the experience you got in their company and make them feel like they contributed to your career. Include your new business card or the business email in the message you are sending out. And, it does go both ways. If you hear that the company they run is doing well, or that they got a promotion or had any other form of professional success, you can congratulate them with an appropriate email or a card.
This one is obvious! Using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to keep in touch is a great idea. It allows you to remain detached but at the same time always present in their minds. At the very least, almost everyone scrolls through the newsfeed almost every day.
However, do not get too excited. Think about which social network is the most appropriate to use for your boss or a former co-worker. You should use Facebook for casual friends and LinkedIn for those who are obviously limited to your professional life.
Articles of interest
As we know, the Internet is chock-full of articles (like this one) that are about professional questions or situations. If you notice an article that you know a former colleague might be interested in, simply send an email with that article (well, a link to that article, obviously) to the colleague in question. Remember to add a note on why you believe it would be interesting to them. However, do not spam them. A couple of times a year would be more than enough.
Now, there is no need to try and use all of these on your old boss as that might feel weird. Nonetheless, a couple of these per person might be all that you need to avoid making it awkward when you later ask them for a favor.
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