Have you lost momentum with your network now that you have created it? You have spent so much time creating your network and developing relationships but you have no idea where to go after that first meeting? Then read below to learn more about your next steps after the first meeting.
Track Your Network & Schedule Interactions
In order to begin keeping up with your network you must take charge and track your network! You may want to research apps such as LinkedIn, Relately, and JibberJobber as a start. OR, you can do it the old fashioned way through setting up a spreadsheet. You can start by setting up a sheet with the following column headers: First Name, Last Name, Job Title, Company Name, Address, Phone, Email Address, First Date of Contact & Location, Last Date of Contact & Location, and Notes.
Next, make it a priority to tend to your network by scheduling time on your calendar to reach out to your contacts. I schedule separate days at during the summer months for reaching out to new contacts. I touch base with people that are already in my network at the end of the year during the holiday season. This method helps me to intentionally keep in touch and makes the activity a priority in my professional life.
Keeping in Touch
Now that your contacts are organized, set and ready to go, it’s time to build a relationship with them. Here are a few ways to keep your networking thinking of you:
- Share your favorite articles. Many professionals appreciate getting relevant and interesting articles from other industry professionals. This is a great way to showcase your knowledge in a field and have an excuse to catch up with your contact.
- Share a great book you have read. Many professionals do not have time to read industry based books. However, many professionals appreciate someone giving a brief synopsis of a relevant theory or example from an industry book.
- Congratulate them for milestones and accolades. Show your contacts that you are keeping up with them and congratulate them on various career milestones. You can keep up with your contacts milestones on LinkedIn or by setting up Google Alerts for your closest contacts.
- Thank them as much as you can. Chances are that everyone in your network has had some hand in your journey or success towards your career so thank them! When your network has inspired you in any way, let them know. Having trouble wording your networking emails, then check out this article by Ramit Sethi with actual email examples for you to use.
Please keep in mind that not every person you send a message to will respond but the people who do will remember you and become your allies for future job opportunities and recommendations.