We are constantly told how important it is to build and grow our professional network. How many contacts do you have? 100? 200? 500? More? Do you really know these people? How can they help to develop your career? And do they want to?
Let’s get real.
We often press the ‘Accept’ button without thinking about the person on the other end. We don’t want to scare you, but some of these would-be connections could be ghost contacts; People who definitely don’t want to help build your career and who may even be scammers in disguise.
Anyone can build a LinkedIn or Xing profile –
it’s a piece of cake – a stock photo, a few false details, and something, something career coach. It’s scarily easy, and tricksters sneak their way into our inboxes far too often. But why do they do it? Sometimes it’s to sell you a service you don’t need, other times to make a fake job offer, or even to steal your personal information. Whatever the reason, these ghosts aren’t people you want to be part of your professional life.
This means it’s important to be prepared.
Clean up your LinkedIn and Xing profile, figure out who adds value to your network and who definitely doesn’t, and be ruthless in creating a contact list that makes sense for your career. No regrets.
But what about the other side of the equation?
How can you reach out to potential connections without setting off their ghost alarm? A short, personal note that talks about one of their recent posts, an article they have published, or a professional achievement can help someone to recognize that you’re a real-live human who could be a valuable addition to their network.
The two minutes you spend writing this type of message is time well invested in building trust with an industry colleague. And if you are planning to pivot in your career, that short note could play a big part in shaping your future success. We love Halloween and the Day of the Dead, but let’s keep the spooky stuff out of your career. Happy ghost hunting!