So you attended a Walden Career Connections networking event. You met new people, had great conversations and it was actually fun! To make your networking experience a complete success, there is still one more step you need to take: Follow-up. Taking the initiative to reach out to your new networking contacts can be intimidating, so we have provided some easy ways that you can take your connections further.
Connect on LinkedIn
After making a new contact, a great first step is to send them a connection request on LinkedIn. Walden Career Connections makes the process easy by allowing you to register for networking events with your LinkedIn profile. That way, it is easy to find your new contact on LinkedIn. Instead of sending a generic request, which can seem impersonal, start your relationship out the right way by sending them a personalized note. Here is a great example:
“I really enjoyed chatting with you on Walden Career Connections yesterday! It is always a pleasure to meet another HR professional. I hope you enjoy your conference next week. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn so we can chat further in the future.”
By adding some details, you are letting your contact know that you valued the conversation and the information they shared. So, how can you remember all the things you chatted about?
Jog Your Memory
A surefire way to make the follow-up process easier is by taking some simple notes that will help you to remember your personal interactions. The Walden Career Connections platform provides a field to make notes after every networking chat. A transcript of your conversations will be saved for you to access after each event, so you can look back at your chat history, review your notes and gather contact information. In addition, you can utilize LinkedIn’s relationship management tool. Located on your contact’s profile, the relationships tab gives you the option to add notes, set reminders to follow-up, and even tag connections on your relationship. These tags allow you to quickly search your contacts to identify colleges, friends or classmates. Taking a little extra time to organize your network makes it easier to engage.
Networking is all about mutually beneficial relationships. Instead of following up with your new contacts to see how they can benefit you, how about offering to help them? Pay attention to status updates, posts and discussion topics in your LinkedIn groups to identify where you can add value. Could you introduce your contacts to a potential mentor, volunteer for their organization or advise them in an area of your expertise? People will remember your kindness next time that you need a favor. As Keith Ferrazzi once said, “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.”
Meet for Coffee
Online networking is convenient, but building a strong network is all about establishing relationships. Often it is easier to solidify your new connections by speaking in person. Consider sending a LinkedIn message or email requesting a face-to-face meeting. Here is an example:
“I really enjoyed speaking with you during the Doctoral Networking Social. It’s great to share ideas with another DBA student! You mentioned that you live in the Atlanta area. I would love to speak with you further about your experiences working with Smith Corp. Would you like to get together for coffee? Are you available for a quick 20-minute meeting in the next couple weeks?”
It is important to remember to flexible with scheduling and make sure that that you meet in a location where your contact feels comfortable. Taking your networking offline is a great way to become comfortable talking about your career goals and asking others to share their advice and experience.
We enjoy networking with you!
Written by Angie Lira, Senior Career Services Advisor