In the New York Times, business desk editor Kevin Granville shares excellent suggestions on managing your career, from basic issues, to staying informed, to cultivating interests unrelated to your work:

If you sense your networking muscles need some exercise, here are a few ways to get started. In all these cases, you will often have to be the initiator. So get used to that idea.

  • Start small. When you run into a former coworker at your place of business, say more than a quick hello. Try to take a moment and find out how they are doing. Jobs and responsibilities are always changing, and, frankly, it’s nice when someone takes a sincere interest in our lives.

  • Take a leap. Invite folks to drinks after work, or to join you in a company-sponsored volunteer effort. The thing here is just getting to know people a bit better beyond working hours.

  • Use social media. Social media is rightly maligned for so many reasons, but there’s no doubt it can be an effective career tool. LinkedIn and Facebook can provide an effective and relatively painless way to reach out to people you know, especially those who have changed jobs. Think of a colleague or classmate you’ve lost touch with, and make contact with a simple “what’s new?” message. Relate a little (no more than a few sentences!) on what you’ve been up to, and ask how they’ve been doing. The thing to avoid here is sounding, well, needy or creepy – that just confirms the worst stereotypes of networks

  • Just be sincere: You are trying to re-establish connections with some old co-workers. And don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back; if your colleague wants to write back, he or she will.

  • Remember to keep your profiles up to date. Whatever your feelings about social media, an outdated profile isn’t doing you any good.

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