How to build your personal network with follow up skills

The job market is very competitive and now a days it is all about who you know, not what you know. Connections are key in landing the career of your dreams, but it takes hard work to get there. I know many other professionals would agree with me, including Brad Lomenick, about how difficult it is to build your network. Lomenick gives his readers advice in his blog post, “The Skill of the Follow up,” about how to seal the deal with potential employers.

By taking it a step further, I encourage all job seekers to follow up with any professional they meet that is connected to their field, not just your potential manager or boss. Like I said above the key to landing a job is connections and the bigger your network, the better your chances are to be discovered. Here is some advice I have gathered from Lomenick, other professionals and my personal experience on how to follow up:

1)   Be persistent

I have been told you can never be too persistent. Don’t be afraid to send another email, or make another phone call when you do not get a reply. I have friends who got their jobs because they were so persistently annoying that their employer gave them an interview just to shut them up!

2)   Be different

Don’t send out a general email, the employer will move it straight to the trash if they feel like it was a mass sent email. Make your words stand out and show that you care about and want to be apart of the organization.

3)   Be clear

Make it easy for them to respond and set a date for when you want a response or a favor fulfilled. Urgency will help your connection know when to get back to you, or do what you are asking of them.

4)   Make a personal connection

Try to play off of the first meeting you had with your connection. If you guys connected over sports or a hobby, mention that in the email. This will help the employer remember you, which is a really good thing. Since employers deal with SO many people it is hard to remember everyone they talk to. Just being remembered puts you ahead of your competitors.

5)  Say Thank You (and make it genuine)

Don’t forget to thank them for their time. Even if things don’t work out, you never know when you may see that person again. They could be your future boss or fellow employee so make sure that you do not ruin relationships.

If you really want to show off, send your connection a personal hand written note saying thank you. You will impress them with your professional and personal follow up skills.

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