Collegiette's Career Guide: Follow Up

So you went to that interview or networking event and totally rocked it. You added everyone on your updated LinkedIn with a personalized message. Now... how do you keep in contact with your new connections? Keeping in contact with your network is the sole purpose of having a network! How do you go about doing that? The best thing to do is start with a thank you!

1) When speaking with someone, make sure you have a way to follow-up.

By asking someone for their business card or their email address, you aren't seeming pushy. As long as you have a genuine conversation with someone, they will likely give it to you anyways! If not, don't sweat it. Through the power of the internet, you can usually find an email address for someone if you know their name and where they work.

2) Follow-up within 24-48 hours.

After you've passed the 48-hour mark, you are out of sight and out of mind unless you made an absolutely stellar impression. It shows you have respect for yourself and the individual if you take the time out of your day to type/write your thank you while the meeting is still fresh on your mind.

3) Make it personal (but not too personal!)

You want to send a thank you note because it is a good thing to do, and it looks really good. It's okay to generally say the same thing, as long as you sincerely mean it. I always throw in something about a conversation we had, just to help the reader remember. By talking about a conversation you had it shows that you have interest in the topic as well as the person. Don't throw in anything too creepy (like something you found on google) unless it is something that you openly talked about.

4) Keep it short and sweet.

You are sending a thank you email, not a book. Anything over three paragraphs isn't ideal. Remember, the people that you are trying to connect with are very successful for a reason, because they work hard. They are workers and are busy, so reading a pages long email isn't something they are going to want to do.

5) Continue to follow-up!

Don't think after your thank you email that you are one-and-done. To keep your connections relevant they should be aware of what is going on in your life. They don't need to be aware of your personal issues and boyfriend drama, but there is nothing wrong with asking them for job advice. Connections aren't as bothered by emails as you may think. If you are being annoying, they will politely tell you to send less emails. That's the worst that can happen. Take a breathe and start sending some emails!

6) Don't stress if you don't get a reply!

The people you are emailing do have jobs and are very busy. It may take that person a few days to respond to you, if they do at all. Do not take it personally if you don't get a response. Also, don't take that to mean you can never send them an email again. Replying to a thank you is difficult unless you ask a specific question or want advice on something. I have sent thank you emails and never heard back, but then had that person pull me aside at other events because I "sent the nice email". Your good follow-up skills are not going unnoticed!

Keep these tips in mind the next time you go out to a career event or interview. Sending a thank you could make or break a job! You will definitely stand out in a good way if you are sending thank yous!