Networking is claimed to be the best way to get a job. It is said that over 80% of jobs are obtained through networking. That should take the sting out of networking. It is a high impact job search activity that many people try to avoid.
Networking involves meeting many people and finding out who they know. It’s about developing relationships. However, relationships need regular contact to grow. A relationship that is not nurtured goes nowhere. People will forget about you, and the connection is weakened.
Did you make new contacts during the holiday season? If you did, now is the time to follow-up. The holiday stress and busyness are over. People are getting back to work and to their routine. They are packing up the decorations and along with them memories of the people they met once at a party.
If you want to succeed in networking, you need to follow-up. People can’t be expected to remember you if you don’t stay in their mind. If they do remember you, it’s likely that you aren’t on the top of their mind. It’s something they will get to eventually.
Follow-up maybe is as painful as the networking for you. But it has to be done. The key is to want to work more than you dread the follow-up. Start off with an email recalling when and where you met. Say something about what you talked about. Include that you would like to get together for coffee and will call in a few days to set it up. It only takes a few lines. A catchy subject line will get your email read.
Wait a few days and then make the phone call. They have been warmed up by your email, so your call won’t be a total surprise. Be flexible as you can to accommodate their schedule. And then after you meet, you have another follow-up; send a thank you note.
If they gave you any suggestions, follow-up on those. Make the connections, do the actions, attend the events they recommended. Let them know your results and show your appreciation for their ideas.
Follow-up is the key to networking. Meeting people is only the beginning. It’s what you do after the meeting that will affect your success. People can lead you to events, activities, and other people, but if you don’t act, the information is useless. You wasted your time and theirs. By taking their advice, they will be more willing to continue helping you.
How can I help you in your job search?