Maintaining contact with your new connections can feel hard and uncomfortable. As you cultivate your network, practice quality over quantity. If you had a good conversation with an employer who seemed to be engaged, reach out to them on LinkedIn, other social media or by email to remind them of that conversation and thank them for their time. Let them know what you appreciated about the conversation and that you’d like to keep in touch.
As time passes, try to consider how you can add value to their world. Did you come across an article related to their work? Forward it to them. Did they announce a major change on LinkedIn? Acknowledge their efforts and accomplishments. You can learn more about maintaining your network below.
Consider that cultivating professional relationships doesn’t have to be much different than cultivating friendships. You don’t have to develop strong friendships with your professional contacts but many of the same principles apply, including the following:
- Value should be reciprocal. In other words, it’s not just about you getting a job.
- Engaging with one another should be enjoyable.
Remember, building professional relationships, or networking, is an essential career building activity. Think of it as a long-term investment in your future that can help you with the following:
- Access opportunities
- Improve your industry knowledge
- Consider your interests and identify your career goals
- Gain referrals and recommendations
Connect on LinkedIn
LinkedIn notifies you if someone has a work anniversary, job change, or birthday. This is a great opportunity to stay connected with your new contact and reach out to them in casual and formal ways. You can also check out their profiles to find pages and people worth following.
When you request to connect, make sure you include a personalized introduction email so that they don’t think you are spamming them. Remind them of your previous meeting and let them know you value their time and experience.