Did you go to a networking party and get someone’s card? Did you just get home from an interview you think you aced? Did you go to a panel event and hear awesome speakers?
Now the important question. Did you follow up?
In an age where contact information is so readily available, there are no excuses not to follow up. Here are some tips for doing it right.
1. Follow up in 24 Hours or Less
No, it doesn’t make you seem desperate. It shows you are interested! The longer you take the follow up, the more likely the person you’re excited to connect with will forget about you. Timeliness is key.
2. Write a Draft Email as Soon as You Get to a Computer
You were out late after the company party where you met your dream mentor. It may not be the best idea to send an email at 1:09am, but you can write yourself a draft so you remember something cool you talked about and the email address. This way you can fix it up and send it out first thing in the am.
3. Touch Base on Multiple Platforms
Everyone will expect an email. But what else can you do to show you’re interested in keeping in touch? Follow the person or company on twitter, send a #FollowFriday, connect on Linkedin or comment on their latest blog post.
4. Write a Note in Your Address Book about How You Met
Sometimes you may meet a slew of people at once. For example, during Internet Week there are lots of events going on (by the way, Internet Week is looking for interns, email us if you’re interested!) for a full eight days. To ensure you keep track of all the cool people you meet, when you add their email address to your contacts, fill in the notes section. It can be as simple as “Fasion blogger met at Twitter Panel.” It takes five seconds and is worth it.
5. Set Up a Calendar Alert to Follow up Later
Let’s face it, lots of interesting people you will try to connect with are super busy; speakers on panels, higher ups at your company, the dean of students at your school. There is a chance they may not answer your email. If that happens, don’t be discouraged. Set up an alert to hit them up another way in the next couple of weeks or so. Shoot another email, mention them in a tweet or reblog them on Tumblr. It’s a great way to show you really want to connect.
6. Include Something that Will Continue the Conversation
If you met someone you’d really like to forge a relationship with, make sure you help it along by including something in your follow up to get the conversation going. Did you talk to someone about their internship program? Ask when the deadline is and how to apply. Did you meet someone whose accomplishments you really admire? Ask if they have time to meet for coffee or if you can interview them for your blog. Did you see someone totally inspiring at a panel or conference? Send them a link to your blog post re-cap and ask if they have anything to add.
Making new friends, connections, and expanding your network is extremely important no matter what phase of your career you are in. You may not hear back from everyone you meet and want to connect with, so be sure not to be overly sensitive. The one thing to remember: you won’t hear from a single person you don’t reach out to in the first place!
Do you have any cool experiences or tips about reaching out to folks? Share them in the comments.