Focus on Follow-Up After Networking Efforts
Networking is how you will generate leads, contacts and ideas for your job search. But those leads, contacts and ideas have a short half-life. Failure to follow up on a timely basis can result in a lot of good work being wasted. Make sure you build into your schedule adequate time to do the follow-up work that can convert opportunities into job offers.
So, you’ve attended a networking event, made connections, left behind your resume and made a great first impression – now what do you do? Now is the time to show prospective employers just how interested you are in their organizations. Talk is cheap, but actions impress. Following are some helpful tips and suggestions on what to do after the networking event is over.
Networking events, such as career fairs, are definitely stimulating. Some would say it’s like drinking water from a fire hose. You had a lot of conversations, made many connections and have lots of things to reflect upon. Take some time, IMMEDIATELY, to work on the items below to continue advancing your job search.
- Make a list of everyone you met: employers, facilitators, intermediaries, and other job seekers. Transfer information from business cards and scraps of paper onto a document summarizing your meeting, with the date and location of the networking event. The first step is not to lose the valuable data you have collected in a messy pile of papers. Make sure you capture name, title, organization, phone number, email address, and a sentence or two summarizing your conversation or any interesting angles you picked up from each contact.
- Discuss the most important of these meetings with your spouse or a friend to keep the discussions you had fresh in your memory.
- Read over the notes you took while at the networking event about the company, open positions, and other suggestions you may have received from recruiters or attendees.
- Think back on your conversations and write down the things you would like to remember to focus upon in a future networking situation or interview.
Within the week following the event, send a thank you email or note to ALL of the employers you met (not just the ones you have the most immediate interest in). This will ensure that employers remember you, and it makes another good impression. Sending a thank you email or note is a professional gesture that shows your interest and maintains an open line of communication.
- Keep your thank you note or email professional and to the point, and remember to proof read it as well as you did your resume.
- Thank the recruiter for his/her time and express that you have a great interest in the company and position. You may want to mention why you believe this job is such a great fit for you.
- If after sending your note you have not heard from the employer, do another follow up and ask about the status of the position and next steps.
You took a great step with attending the networking event, making connections and following up. Keep that momentum going and continue to focus on your job search rather than waiting to hear back from employers. The ball is NEVER in their court; it’s always in yours. Until you have accepted a new job offer you should continue to pursue all relevant job leads.
- If you made a commitment to an interview be sure to show up or cancel promptly. Leave the recruiter with a positive impression even if you decide the next step is not a right fit for you.
- Recruiters do not always respond right away, and sometimes not at all, to thank you notes. Stay on track with your follow ups and requesting information on next steps.
- Consider any job offer carefully- it is important to find a job, but take the time to select a position that is a fit so that you aren’t quickly engaged in another job search.
- Job rejections are not fun, but every job seeker receives them. Be professional about it – the opportunity could come back around to you a second time if you handle it correctly. The first candidate may not pan out, or another opportunity may come up that the recruiter can keep you in mind for.
- If the opportunity is truly dead, move on. Look at it as a way to close out that chapter of your job search and move on to the next. This company is not the only one who will appreciate the skills you have to offer.
Throughout your job search remember to maintain that positive, action-oriented attitude that got you to the networking event in the first place. Each connection and discussion is an opportunity to move you forward!
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