It’s hard to keep in touch with everyone, but you can reconnect!

It happens to the best of us — from crazy schedules and family situations to relocations and career changes, there are many factors that can lead to losing touch with professional contacts. What’s more, a person will have an average of 12 to 15 jobs in their lifetime and is expected to relocate a little over 11 times in the United States.

What does that mean? There is big chance you may lose valuable connections along the way.

While it may seem like a lost cause trying to reconnect due to the amount of time that has gone by, this could not be further from the truth. Here are five ways to reach back out to your professional contacts.

1. Use LinkedIn and Twitter

Social media is an excellent way to reach back out to contacts of old. LinkedIn is built on professional connections, so this type of communication is welcome there. Sending a brief message outlining how you know them, what you have been up to, and a specific reason you would like to reconnect is appropriate. For Twitter, give them a follow and then retweet or reply to a posting to get their attention.

Related: LinkedIn Networking: How to Cultivate Meaningful Connections Online

2. Be honest

Starting off an email or LinkedIn message with “It’s been too long” acknowledges the amount of time that has passed and embraces the awkwardness head-on. Depending on your past relationship with a particular contact, you can connect the length of time with an event that has gone on in your life (marriage, the birth of a child, relocation, a massive career change, etcetera).

3. Enlist the help of a mutual friend

If you have a common connection between yourself and the person you have not spoken to in a while, it makes total sense to lean on them to be reintroduced to your connection. Tell them how you know the person and inquire about how close they are. If they feel comfortable, ask them if they could reach back out to the person on your behalf for an email or LinkedIn introduction.

4. Acknowledge a career milestone

Did the person win an award for an accomplishment? Did you receive a LinkedIn notification that they are celebrating a work anniversary? Have they recently posted about a promotion or significant career move? Use this moment to congratulate them and reconnect. This event is an excellent springboard for getting updated on their career moves and aspirations.

5. Share something of value with them

Can you connect this person with a potential client? Do you know of an article or resource that would benefit them? This is another appropriate way to reconnect and show that you are genuinely thinking about them and their potential needs.

Final Thoughts

It is entirely reasonable to fall out of contact with co-workers, a previous boss, or another professional contact. The key is to approach this situation with the correct tone, an acknowledgment of the time gone by, and then a call to action — whether it be a meetup, reference, or a promise to reconnect again.

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