At a recent practice networking event for collegiate student-athletes, one of the session leaders, let us call him Mark, shared a story about the need to stay in touch. Mark, the session leader, through working at two large universities had developed strong contacts in his career area of athletics. One of Mark’s contacts is now in a senior position with a school in the PAC-12.
Mark shared how 24 hours before his talk to the current group, he had been contacted by a former student-athlete from one of his previous jobs. He had not heard from this young professional in over two-and-a-half years. The young professional asked Mark to make a call to Mark’s friend at the PAC-12 school, with the stated purpose of endorsing the young professional’s employment application as he had recently applied for a position within the athletics department at the PAC-12 school. The young professional who had not bothered to converse with Mark in over 2 years was now asking Mark to recommend him to a professional contact.
Using very polite and professional language, Mark told the young gentleman ‘No’. When one makes a call on behalf of another, the caller is putting his/her good name behind the applicant, and in order for someone to do this in good conscience, there has to be an existing relationship between the two individuals. In order for a relationship to exist, the individuals need to interact more often than once every 30 months! While I applaud the young professional for making the ask, I hope he realized it was a long shot and will now stay in better contact with his network.
So make it a point to reach out to your contacts and give them an update on what is going on in your life. Grab lunch, coffee, or drop them a note/give them a call to catch up and continue to keep the relationship vibrant. You never know when you can be of assistance or you may need someone’s help in the future.