Keeping in touch with former colleagues is a great way to expand your professional network. It also serves to build friendships outside the workplace, especially with individuals you have a lot in common with. Unfortunately, you might misplace their contact information, or they can change their phone number after leaving the company. Either way, you need other options if you have to meet up with them. This blog post will help you discover ingenious ways to locate former colleagues online.
Make Use of Social Media Platforms
We live in the golden era of social media when most people are on at least one social media platform. However, it would be wise to start looking on more professional social networking sites like LinkedIn before extending your search to X (Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.
If you can’t find them through a quick search using their names, use proxies like other former colleagues in your circles. Another little-known trick is to use their relatives, friends, or Alumni groups, which only works if you have the necessary information.
Use People Search Websites
There are special online platforms that can help you look up someone using their personal information such as full name, phone number, or address. Most of these websites collect their data from public databases, and the results are accurate and up-to-date.
The process is pretty straightforward: you enter the details of the person you wish to find in the search bar and let the algorithms do their work. Here’s an example:
- Go to Nuwber, a people search website.
- Enter the person in question’s full name, phone number, or address.
- Enjoy the results! They may include the person’s professional details, workplace, email address, and other information.
Retrieve Their Email
Almost everyone uses emails these days, especially at the workplace. It’s possible that during your interactions, you worked on a project together and got to share correspondence through their private email.
Send them a friendly email re-introducing yourself and the reason for contacting them. You have to be patient, though, in case they take time to reply. There’s also a possibility that they may not reply at all. You should not take this personally, especially if they weren’t your friend. Ensure to send a follow-up email later just in case they missed the previous one.
Engage Mutual Friends
It may be hard to find someone’s social media accounts, especially if you weren’t close at work. However, there’s a high chance that you share mutual acquaintances. In this case, you can search among the mutual friend’s followers’ list, and if you’re lucky, you will find your target there. You may also directly request the mutual friend for the contact details of your person of interest.
Explore the Company’s Social Media Pages
Company pages can come in handy in a situation when you need to find a former colleague, as it’s possible that they follow the company’s social media pages on professional platforms such as LinkedIn.
If you also have a clue of where they moved, extend your search within those circles. In the search area, make sure to use different terms like the name of the person, their occupation, and the company name at the end. These alternative keywords are more likely to give you accurate results.
Check Mutual Online Groups and Forums
If you spent quality time with the colleague, then some of the little details you picked about their life can save you here. For instance, if they were into a certain genre of music, artist, or sport, then they left you a powerful trail that could lead to them.
Most fans are fond of engaging with their idols online, so they join their groups and chatrooms and even attend their events. Hence, all you need to figure out is what they enjoy doing in their free time and start looking. If you know their favorite sports team, you can attempt to attend several of their matches. You never know; fate could lead you to them.
Search Online Professional Forums
Some careers require one to join professional bodies like ICA (for accountants), SHRM (for HR professionals), or ANA (for registered nurses). Hence, as a member, your colleague is likely to follow their social media channels or contribute to online discussions, and there’s your bait. If they have a different skill set, like an HR professional doubling up as a performance coach, be sure to check the second option, too. If you choose to go with this option, avoid going straight to the organization to ask for these details; due to their legal duty to protect confidential information, they may be bound not to disclose it.
Look Into Public Records Databases
Public repositories have sufficient details about almost everyone. There are also value-added information providers who refine information in public databases to give it more meaning. You can use these platforms to find out more about your former colleagues and possibly where to find them.
These specialty sites can also give you leads to other platforms with the information you need. For example, with their name, you can find details about the schools they attended. You can then visit the school’s alumni pages online to see if they are active there.
Turn to Resume Databases and Job Posting Boards
Thanks to the power of the internet, some career coaches have extended their services to providing convenient resume writing services. If there’s a most sought-after career coach in your area, chances are that your former colleagues consult them, too.
Hence, a quick check through their testimonials or public clientele database can quickly lead you to your person. If it’s possible to approach the coach without demanding their client’s confidential information, this would be a faster way to find your colleague.
Finding a former colleague online doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. You can find details about them on social media, people search websites, or the company’s social media pages.
In case you hit a dead end, you can reach out to mutual friends online for guidance or look through their following lists for any clues. Public record databases and job listing websites are also invaluable for this.
If everything else fails, try locating them through professional bodies or career coaches they may have consulted at any point.