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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Networking Follow Up

 Note: The following entry was originally posted on April 9, 2009.

I emailed an alum and they answered all my questions and provided me with some good advice. Now what?

Many students are unsure on how to best follow up with a networking contact either because they don't have any other questions to ask or fear that they will be bothering the person if they email again. Don't let the relationship end with just one email exchange. Maintaining regular contact (every 2-3 months) is the most important aspect of networking. Below are a few simple ways to keep in touch:

Did you follow the advice the contact gave you? If so, then let them know. Whether they suggested a class to take, a lecture to attend, or a person to contact, let them know that you followed their suggestion, report on the outcome, and thank them.

Did you read an interesting article relating to their area of practice? Pass it along to your contact. This is a thoughtful way of proving your interest while also continuing the conversation with your contact about a particular practice area. Also let them know if you recently read an article written by them. And if you read or heard something positive about them (a promotion or award received) send along a note of congratulations.

Keep them in the loop. One of the best ways to maintain and build a relationship with a professional contact is to use quarterly markers to update them on your progress in school and/or the job search. At the end of a semester, send them a note letting them know how it went and which courses you plan on taking next. Let them know where you will be working for the summer and follow up with them again at the end of the summer to let your contact know how it went. Holidays are also good opportunities to get back in touch with people.

Remember: It's not just what a contact can do for you now, but what they may do for you in the future. By maintaining your relationship with your contacts, you are keeping the lines of communication open for future recommendations and job opportunities.

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