How to Use Your Ex for Career Advancement

Brad was bragging about how many connections he had on LinkedIn.

And I’d barely heard of it.

Career Coach, Executive Coach, Ex Boss, Ex-Boss, career advancement, linkedin, promotion, burnout, burnout test

He shared with me that everyone’s careers are so crazy and there is so much job hopping going on that it’s crucial to keep up with your ex-Bosses, colleagues, reports, etc…and LinkedIn is an easy tool to do it.

I thought he was nuts and way too excited about this LinkedIn thing.

I was a little tentative but thought I’d check it out.

That was 9 years and 800 connections ago…

Why you Should Stay Connected to Ex-Bosses

There is more economic uncertainty than ever, and it seems like my past work colleagues have a different job or career every time I start going through my LinkedIn contacts.

If you’re reading this now, you’ve probably have lots of Ex’s too.

“Ex’s” meaning you have lots of former bosses and co-workers that are now working in different capacities than when you originally worked with them.

Often times though it’s “out of site, out of mind” with ex-bosses, you might even go years without having contact or even touching base.

After all, you’re busy and trying to keep up with everyone seems like a monumental task and not really worth it.

However consider for a moment the gold mine of career advancement opportunity that your Ex’s represent like:

  • Trust– You’ll find that an immense amount of trust is established while working late nights on projects over cold pizza under fluorescent lights.  Trust between employees can make things easier and faster (especially a promotion or a new job).  The magic happens because you may have entirely different backgrounds and perspectives, yet you’ve got a bond of trust that holds your relationship together.
  • Career Coach, Executive Coach, Ex Boss, Ex-Boss, career advancement, linkedin, promotion, burnout, burnout testProven– Being a known entity is a huge benefit in an uncertain business environment.  Thesefolks are known entities to you, which can be a big advantage when seeking career advancement  You know what they can do (warts and all).    Even if your relationship didn’t go great the first time around, you’ve probably heard the expression “do you prefer the the devil you know, or the devil you don’t?”  Of course, it’s never a good sign when you refer to your former co-workers or you boss as “devils”.
  • Get’s You – You know each others working style which adds a layer of efficiency. You can vouch for each other, which is huge when a deadline is looming.

How Your Ex-Boss Helps Burnout

When I hit burnout, I found my ex-Boss to be a big help.

I called him for honest feedback on my strengths and weaknesses and
asked what they saw in me that they think I’d underutilized.

The feedback was surprising and insightful.

One of the unexpected benefits of keeping up with old bosses and is that there seems to an openness.

Often times the conversation may start out talking about the “old days” and then you have a window for a much deeper exploration.

It’s huge to have the people you’ve worked for just a call or coffee away.

5 Keys to Leverage Your Relationships in your Ex-Boss Network

So once you’ve got a hankering to reconnect with your Ex, there are a couple easy strategies you can follow:

  1. Integrity – Overall the best way to maintain the career possibilities with an ex-employee and work colleagues is to leave on a good note and leave them in the best position possible.  If you do something you’ll regret on the way out you might find them cursing your name for months (or even years to come).
  2. Contact Info – Try to keep you contact information only 2 to 3 clicks away.  Use LinkedIn or at a minimum get their contact information so you can get in touch with them down the line. If an opportunity pops up and your contact info is not readily accessible, then you may get overlooked.
  3. Social Networking – It’s so amazingly easy to use social media and the Internet to keep up to date with what former employees are doing. Use social media to network with former employees—but make sure it seems natural, not stalker-ish. Depending on your relationship, friending an ex-employee on Facebook may seem too personal, but doing so on LinkedIn is perfectly natural.
  4. Staying in the Loop – Encourage them to follow you on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook (if you’re comfortable with that) so they can see what each other are into at work. These makes exploring new career possibilities more seamless as well as keeps you in the forefront of their mind as business opportunities pop-up.
  5. Offline – Nothing beats keeping in touch with the occasional meet-up.  Keep connected with former your work colleagues by having coffee or even hosting an work alumni happy hour. Its simple and a great way to maintain the relationships longer term.

To Your Igniting Your Career!


PS:  Get a free 20 minute call dedicated to establishing your Ex network with 3 easy steps by clicking here to schedule a consultation