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Advice / Job Search / Networking

6 Completely Normal Excuses to Reach Out to Your Network

Between texts, emails, phone calls, tweets, Snapchats, and so many other channels, we’re in constant communication with those around us—our friends, family, co-workers, and yes, even Uber drivers.

Pretty much everyone except our professional network.

Yep, that professional network that you worked so hard to build is often ignored. All because you feel awkward reaching out unless you have a real reason to do so. But, staying in touch with those people is no different than all the other snapping, tweeting, posting, and texting you’re doing. It just takes a little bit of extra effort.

If thinking of a reason to reach out to someone is stumping you, here are a few ideas, complete with script suggestions. Warning: Once you check out this cheat sheet, you’ll no longer have an excuse for not keeping in touch.

1. They Got a Promotion or a New Job

This one’s a no-brainer. All you need to do is send along a simple “congratulations.” While you can keep it easy by commenting on his or her LinkedIn update, try taking it to the next level by sending along a personal note.

Say it in an Email

Congratulations! I know it’s been a bit since we last spoke, but I was so thrilled to see your recent update on LinkedIn! Congrats on your new role at [company name]. I’m a big fan of [company name] and can’t wait to see you succeed there. Once you’re settled in, I would love to take you for a congratulatory lunch. Good luck, and I look forward to catching up.

Say it in a Tweet

Congrats @[person’s handle] on your new job at @[company name]. They’re lucky to have you! #NewAdventures

2. You Got a Promotion or a New Job

You’re giddy with excitement as you change your LinkedIn profile to reflect your new job, company, title, and all the success that change implies. As fun as it is to shout it from the social media rooftops, it’s always nice to send a personal note to those who have helped you on your journey.

Say it in an Email

I wanted to share some news that I thought you’d enjoy. I just accepted a new role at [insert company] and am thrilled to get started! I’ll be working on [share a detail or two on what you’ll be doing]. I wanted to thank you for all your coaching and guidance along the way—there’s no way I’d be here without your help. Hope all is well with you!

Say it in a Tweet

Can’t wait to get started in my new role at @[company name]! Shout out to @[contact here] for helping me to make it happen.

3. They’re Looking for a New Job

Looking for a job is hard, and everyone wants help doing it. So be that person who steps in and saves the day. OK, maybe not saves the day, but the person who offers a helping hand.

Just remember that this job search might be confidential, which means two things: One, be smart enough to know if this person would be OK with you reaching out to him or her. And two, make sure it’s safe to spread the word, before you start spreading the word. Once the person responds to your initial email, you can take the next steps, such as asking for a resume or an email to forward along.

Say it in an Email

I heard from [source] that you’re looking for a new job. As you know, I think you’re awesome and I would love to help you out. My company currently has a few openings that I think you might be interested in, and I also frequently hear of openings at similar companies. Let me know if I could send along any information or connect you with anyone in my network.

4. You’re Looking for a New Job

SOS! Looking for a job can be daunting, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. In fact, this is a time when it’s actually crucial that you put away your networking fears and start emailing your contacts. Now.

Since this email’s a little more important that the average “just getting in touch” email, you need more than a script. You need a full game plan, and there’s no better place to get started than reading this article on writing a “Help Me Find a Job” email.

(And you know better than to tweet about your job search, right?)

5. They’re Celebrating a Birthday

Everyone has a birthday. And everyone likes hearing “Happy Birthday”—whether it’s from a friend or a long lost acquaintance. Seriously, have you ever said Happy Birthday to someone and then gotten an angry response? Nope. So use this as a chance to send over your best wishes.

Say it in an Email

Happy Birthday! Wishing you an amazing year ahead, filled with success and joy! Let’s grab a drink and celebrate together sometime soon.

Say it in a Tweet

Happy birthday @[handle of contact]! Wishing you a great year ahead.

(Pro tip: Go above and beyond by including a fun GIF in the tweet.)

6. You’re Just Saying Hi

There’s no need to over-complicate hello, though sometimes that simple word can be the hardest to say. Keep it short, sweet, and slightly more personal by adding in whatever it was that made you think of him or her—an interesting article, and upcoming conference, or running into someone you both used to work with.

Say it in an Email

How are you? I know it’s been a bit since we last spoke, but you were on my mind this week because [reason here]. If you’re not too busy, I would love to grab a coffee this month and catch up.

Say it in a Tweet

@[person’s handle] this article made me think of you! Let’s get together soon? [insert link]

See how easy and not-at-all awkward getting back in touch with someone can be? Thanks to LinkedIn, it’s now easier than ever to stay on top of your network and find a good reason to reach out. So, take the first step this week and just do it.

Photo of man on tablet courtesy of Shutterstock.