Follow up is one of the most important parts of networking. It doesn’t matter if you are in a formal interview or talking with an acquaintance on your softball team, follow-up is crucial to engaging and building. In the last part of our series on informational interviews, we explore follow-up for this type of networking.
As with all different types of follow-up, you have a couple of different goals you want to accomplish when following up on an informational interview:
- Make sure to follow up right away. Follow up with a thank you e-mail within 24 hours of your meeting. Remind the person of your values and skills you bring to the table, but be sure not to make it a sales pitch.
- Complete any follow up you offered to do. For example, if you mentioned a website of interest or a person you would introduce your contact to, complete those tasks quickly.
- If your contact has offered to make a connection or introduction, ensure that this happens. Courteously remind your contact of the promised follow-up item and ask if any further information is needed to complete the task. For example you may say “You mentioned I should talk with your co-worker Nancy. Would you like to make the introduction, or can I have her email address and reach out to directly?” Make it as easy as possible for your contact to follow-through in a way that is convenient for him or her.
- Establish a way to keep in touch. When you wrap up your meeting with your contact, you should ask if it’s ok to keep in touch with them. You might also ask if they have a preferred method to keep in touch (ie. phone, e-mail).
- Look for ways to keep fresh in their mind. Send useful articles from time to time. Keep them updated on your progress periodically. Add them to your holiday card list. Add them to your LinkedIn network . The most powerful way to stay fresh in a contacts mind is to be adding value by sharing useful information, helping solve a problem or making a connection.
- Find a way to give back. The golden rule of networking is helping others. Try and find a way to reciprocate. You might not be able to do this right away, but keep in mind the people who gave their time to you, and at some point you will likely be able to give back.
Follow-up is very simple and very important. When you are conducting informational meetings, make sure you finish strong with a good follow-up. Doing so will assist you in making strong connections for your network.