By Suzanne Breistol

The old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has a lot of truth to it. Maintaining relationships and not burning bridges is key to building both a career and a company. Staying connected today is easier than ever with email, text messaging and social networking sites, although, picking up the phone, meeting in person and writing personal notes still receive the warmest reception.


Who should you stay in touch with in business?

First and foremost you should stay in touch with the people that directly supervised you throughout your career. These people can directly share with others your dedication, loyalty and work performance as requested and give examples from time you spent together. These people give much better references for potential employers or clients than a corporate statement from human resources or other person under compliance guidelines.

You should also stay in touch with people that have taught, mentored and coached you during various periods of your career.  Sometimes these are people that helped you achieve a goal or reach a milestone in your career.  Sometimes these people were just great encouragement to you through a difficult time. Typically these people will be there to help you as needed and are motivated themselves by helping you succeed.  They will share with others your achievements.

The economic challenges over the past few years have truly caused people to reach out to their past contacts more than ever.  The competition for employment and for projects is at an all time high.  Individuals and companies that can provide references who can help them stand out, will get the business over someone that can not do the same.  Businesses are relying more and more on the references of their past clientele to help them stand out over the competition and employers are relying more and more on solid references from individuals before making them an employment offer.

In Part 1: Stay Positive and Part 2: Set Goals of this series we learned about how to stay positive and set goals.  These principles can be applied to part 3.  When staying connected make sure you focus on the good from your past relationship with the company or person and the good on what is happening with you and your company now.  Organize your contacts and set goals to stay in touch with them.  The local contacts you may want to reach out to monthly or quarterly, whereas it may be more appropriate to reach out to your long distance contacts once or twice a year.

How many times have your heard it’s all about relationship, relationship, relationship? The definition of relationship is: The condition or fact of being related; connection or association or A particular type of connection existing between people related to or having dealings with each other.

Maintain your association with others by setting aside the time, with the right attitude, and the system that works for you to stay connected.  Your effort will be faithfully rewarded by doing so.

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