If you're planning to make a career change during 2010, it's time to reconnect with your professional network. With the labor market finally showing signs of stabilizing, sowing a few seeds now may pay back later, when you start submitting your resume.

You don't have to send a Christmas card or a gift. In fact those items may get lost in the holiday shuffle. Instead, send a New Year's e-card expressing best wishes for a successful 2010. That's a professional way to grab the attention of your contacts as they return to the office after the New Year.

Here are some more low cost ways to nurture professional relationships over the holidays.

  • Share a link: E-mail a link to an interesting business article, professional Web site or favorite tech blogger and tell your contact that you thought they might enjoy it.
  • Send an invitation: Invite members of your network to participate in a free podcast, webcast or to attend a community business event.
  • Offer connections: Comb through your professional network to see if you can connect your friends and colleagues. Initiate professional relationships now and others will reciprocate later.
  • Share an update: Update your bio on professional networking sites like LinkedIn and then let your contacts know about your new responsibilities, recent accomplishments or involvement in community organizations. Be sure to ask your colleagues what they've been up to and you'll be reconnected before you know it.

-- Leslie Stevens-Huffman