Dear Classy Career Girl,
I have really been building my network recently (using lots of your advice!) and have met some great people. Most of the people I’ve met/have meetings with soon are people who have a career I want, meaning they’re pretty high up in their organization. I always send a thank you email (sometimes a handwritten one with a fun gift that we joked about during the informational interview) but then what?
How long should I wait before contacting them again? Monthly? Ever few months? And when I do, what do I say? I occasionally send links to articles or websites that I think they would find interesting, but what if I can’t find something like that? I don’t want to be annoying, but I also want to make sure I don’t lose them as a contact, even if I don’t need them right away, but I’m not sure how to do that! It’s especially daunting because they such important, prominent people.
Do you have any advice on how often, and in what manner, to contact someone you want to keep in your network?
Just Following Up
How to Follow Up with Network Contacts
Dear Just Following Up,
I am glad you have been building your network lately! That’s awesome! Also awesome is that you send them a personal gift and thank you note after your meetings. You are on the right track because you definitely want to keep in touch after.
Update Your Network on Your Progress
What I have done is make sure I write down all of the tips and everything I have learned from them. And then later, when I have completed something they told me to do, such as read a book, then I email them and tell them that I really appreciate their suggestion and how it helped me.
An example for me, is that I met with four career coaches before I decided that career coaching is what I wanted to do. So I emailed them about four months later, thanked them and sent a link to my blog. I told them they really helped me clarify my career direction and I was really appreciative of everything that they told me during the interview. Anything you can do to relate it to the interview and provide a little update so you are still staying on the top of their mind so that they will remember you if a position were to open.
Ask Your Network a Question Or Invite Them To an Event
If you have a question or an event they would be interested in, you can contact them again. I would just make sure that it is something useful like maybe a networking event with a speaker that you think they would love. Something that either will benefit them OR something where you thank them for something and make them feel great. Then it is a win-win!
How Often to Follow Up?
I would check in every few months or so but there really is no rule. It really depends if you have something to say to them. So in a few months if you are really still interested in their career or industry, you should have done a lot of research on it by then.
You should have a lot more things to talk to them about or ask them about. Maybe you ask them a question more specific that demonstrates your knowledge and desire to move into the field. Then they will think, “Wow she is still really interested. Maybe she would be perfect for this position.”
More Ideas of Ways to Follow Up with Network Contacts
Send them a link or resource
Send them information about an event you think they would enjoy going to
Send them an update on how you are doing and what you have been up to
Send them a book that you just finished reading and you think they would enjoy
Ask them a new question showing that you have done a lot of research in their field
Introduce them to someone else that you think would be beneficial in their network – but ONLY if beneficial for them
Email them and ask them if you can help or volunteer for them – do they have any special projects you could help with?
Follow up on a new social media account – Connect with them on Twitter, Google, + or LinkedIn if you haven’t already and they are already on there.
Start a blog or an online resume and send them a link to it. (It must be very impressive and well put together, though!)
Host a lunch meeting with a few professionals in the industry and connect them all together
Ask them if there is anyone else that they can connect you with in their company to do an informational interview (If you are super serious about their company)
Ask them if they know anyone in the industry you are trying to get into that they could connect you with
Do some research and present them with a report on how their business could save money or find more clients. Show them that they NEED to hire you.
Hope these ideas help! I always get this question so I am glad you asked it because it made me focus and write all this down. Let me know how it goes!
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