Group bosses, work colleagues, former school friends: In career networks such as XING, professionals can find numerous acquaintances. But how do you build up a virtual contact book that is helpful for your own career?? Experts give tips.
An e-mail from a career portal arrives in my inbox: "Martina Muller has given a new job title. Congratulate her on the new position.» Martina Muller? Who was that again?
Quality instead of quantity
Career networks such as XING have become established in recent years. Users can make professional contacts there, which should bring them further in the job. If you arbitrarily add former schoolmates, fellow students, work colleagues or experts, you will quickly lose track of what you are doing. But how does meaningful online networking work?? As a general rule, the quality of contacts counts more than the quantity. To have only a mass of contacts, with which one does not really connect something, can become also the ballast ?, says Doris Brenner, career coach and author of the book "Networking in the job". But you don’t necessarily have to know your contacts personally. People from your own industry can be particularly interesting.
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This is what contacting people should look like
In the best case, there is a reason for contacting someone – a joint event or the recommendation of an acquaintance. «With the hanger one introduces then the contact inquiry and describes briefly, what one would like from others or which advantages one has to offer to the other one ?, explains Andreas Lutz, chairman of the self-employed association VGSD and author of the book "Praxisbuch Networking". In principle, you should keep the first contact short. If you write to busy people, give them all the necessary information right away. Then the other person can decide whether and how he or she wants to follow up the contact. In addition Lutz recommends to release the own contact contacts – that makes communication easier. Contacting school friends or old acquaintances can also be worthwhile. «If there are professional points of contact, then one should fall back on such contacts. As a rule, it is easier to establish access to the person than with other contacts", Brenner says.
Important: Complete and well-maintained profile
If you receive a request and don’t know the person at first glance, you should check their profile first. You should definitely respond to a request with an individual accompanying text, says Martina Haas, who wrote the book "Crashkurs Networking has written. It is relevant with whom interested parties are networked. The "contacts of contacts übersehen die meisten, hat die Network-Expertin festgestellt. If a person without profile photo or with incomplete profile inquires, that is a No-Go. One should accept such a request only if there is a valid reason. Online networking is only successful if professionals cultivate their personal side. «If you don’t keep your profile up to date, you’re not doing yourself any favors – especially since the trend is growing for employers to contact potential new employees via social networks as part of so-called active sourcing", says Brenner. It’s just as important to constantly expand one’s personal network, she says. But: not haphazardly, but purposefully. And that regardless of whether there is a concrete benefit in sight, according to Martina Haas. Her recommendation: working people should generally set up a broad base – and build specific networks for special topics.