Maintaining your network & following up

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How to Maintain Your Network

Everyone knows it’s important to build a network. But once you’ve made a connection with someone, how do you maintain it ,over the long haul, so that you can call the person when you need help (e.g., a job reference or a professional favor)? How frequently should you be in touch with your contacts? And how do you balance efforts to bring in new people while staying in touch with those you’ve known for a while?

To begin with, make a clear and sensible decision about who in your network you should prioritize and arrange them accordingly. Next you should consider the various tools in your physical and digital toolkit to stay in touch such as, email, phone calls, coffee dates, parties, and even hand written notes. How can you best use these to maintain your associations?


The best approach to keeping up a professional network, is to be in the loop of the overall network you're developing. To grow your network in the Data/Information Age, you can, quite easily remain connected and informed about people from your past. However, an over-reliance by means of digital communication, especially through social media, to keep up your professional network can be dangerous. This can lead to “forcing” relationships, or even losing the real-life social skills needed for business


Another way to remain on good terms with your contacts is to look for ways you can be helpful to them. Stay connected by something as simple as liking/supporting their promotions, events, or accomplishments. Congratulatory messages will keep them reminded of your support and will be more likely to in turn support you in your endeavors. Lastly, contacts in your network can become outdated. Every six months or so you should do an “audit” of your professional ties. You need to look at your list of contacts and ask, is it still accurate? Who should I add? Who is no longer quite as relevant? This will simply keep your list up to date with accurate information which is always helpful.

Do:

  • Decide who you want to stay in touch with and how often you want to reach out.

  • Make use of all the communication tools in your arsenal, including email, phone, coffee dates, social gatherings, and handwritten notes.

  • Look for ways you can help your contacts with the professional and personal challenges they face.

Don’t:

  • Go overboard on social media. Be strategic about how you use it.

  • Brag about your accomplishments.

  • Kill yourself trying to network with everyone you’ve ever met. Keep a running list of relevant contacts and audit from time to time.

 

Following up

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Some key follow-up tools you should know for your first job search process are writing thank you cards/emails and utilizing “after the fact” phone calls.

What you say and how you say it are even more important than the manner in which you send it. A standard thank-you note should accomplish several things:

  1. Thank the person for the opportunity to interview with the company.

  2. Plug your skills: "The job is a good fit for me because of XYZ and my past experience in XYZ.“

  3. I am a good fit for the job.

  4. Finally, recap some of the conversational highlights.

Interviewers have short memories. A thank-you letter is your final chance to make yourself stand apart from all of the others who want the same position.

EXAMPLE THANK YOU EMAIL/CARD:

Sample Email Follow-Up Message #2

Subject: Your Name - Thank You

Dear Name:

It was a pleasure to finally meet you after our many emails and phone conversations regarding the Production Editor / Proofreader position. I truly enjoyed hearing about the Management Group and learning more about the needs of the Sales Intelligence Department. I appreciated being able to share some of the reasons why I feel that I am the ideal candidate for the job.

I also appreciated touring your facilities. They are quite impressive, and it would be a true joy to work in such beautiful surroundings.

Thank you also for introducing me to several members of your Sales Intelligence team. They were all so kind and accommodating. Please let them know I appreciate how comfortable they made me feel. I agree it was unfortunate that Bob Brown, the actual person to whom I'd report, was not in the office. I hope he is feeling better, and I look forward to coming back to meet with him when it's convenient.

After talking with you, meeting the team, and getting a better understanding of what is involved in the position, I am even more confident that there can be no better match. Don Pearce showed me several recent projects and Jody Fryer explained the process and gave me a look at the computer applications that I might be using. I am very familiar with the entire setup and have done work almost identical to the examples that I was shown.

Currently, my schedule is flexible, and knowing your urgency to fill the position, I would like to meet Mr. Brown at his earliest convenience. Please drop me an email or a quick call with a date and time, and I'll be sure to arrange my schedule so that I can meet Mr. Brown. Thank you again for your time; I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,

First Name Last Name

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follow-up phone calls

Calling a potential employer after a networking event or opportunity is crucial in setting yourself apart from your peers as well as leaving a lasting impression. Some say it may even be the “make it or break it” factor in the job seeking process.  But don’t worry, were here to help!

Ex. Phone Call(Folow-Up)

"Hi this is Jessica Jones. You and I met last week, and if you remember, I am an recent graduate and I applied for the marketing manager position. The project teams I've worked on have achieved Huge Benefit AAwesome Result B, and Significant Achievement C. You might recall I've held positions with increasing levels of responsibility at HugeFirm Inc. and ImpressiveCo ... and like we talked about, I think that's the type of experience you're looking to bring to your team. I'm following up with you to show some initiative because I do think I'm qualified and I sincerely hope you'll end up extending me an offer. Can you please give me a ring back or shoot me an email to let me know where you are with the hiring process? I'm at 555.123.1212, that's 555.123.1212. Thanks Mike, please do keep me posted. Bye."

Follow up Calls: Dos and Don’ts

Be prepared. Have a copy of your resume in front of you when you call. That way, you'll be prepared to answer questions if the interviewer has any. This will also help you avoid feeling flustered on the phone call or rambling. Have a list of references ready in case you are asked for them.

Make a list. Create a short list of what you're going to say, including your key qualifications for the job.

Practice. If you're nervous about calling, and that's entirely understandable, practice. Ask a friend or family member to pretend they are the hiring manager and make a couple of calls. The more you say it, the easier the conversation will be when it's for real.

Call in private. You obviously don't want to call from a cubicle at work, but it's also important not to have a lot of background noise if you call from home or somewhere in public. You need to be able to hear, think, and speak clearly, and a quiet spot to call from will make all the difference in the world.

Smile. If you project confidence when you call, it will get through to the other end of the phone line. Confident and assured candidates have a better chance at getting a job offer than someone who is nervous and hesitant.

Call the decision-maker. Be sure to get the interviewer's business card at the end of the interview if you don't already have a phone number. It's important to talk to the person who has hiring authority or can at least recommend you as the top candidate for the job.

Make a match. Mention how you are a perfect fit for the position, highlighting -- specifically -- why you're a match. Briefly mention the qualifications you have and tie them to what the employer is seeking.

Offer information. Use your follow up call as a way to both thank your interviewer and to ask if you can provide them with any further information to help make a decision.

Take it a step further. If the conversation goes well, you can even ask when you might expect the company to make a decision.

Don't overdo it. Don't call the interviewer multiple times. The employers surveyed by Accountemps definitely didn't want multiple phone calls. This is your one shot at making another good impression, so use it wisely, but don't overuse it.

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