Dear CCE

I’m attending networking events and I haven’t heard from anyone even though I followed up with thank you notes. What can I do to stay connected?

Dear Student,

Good for you for attending networking events and sending thank you notes! Regardless of industry, networking helps you to get past being a piece of paper in a pile of applicants. A short positive interaction followed by a thank you note shows your motivation and interest and reminds the professional you connected with about you and your conversation. It also gives them easy access to your contact information!

That said, networking is the making of connections and building relationships. You’ve made the connection, now it’s time to reconnect and foster a relationship! 

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR CONNECTIONS

A few easy suggestions that I’ve seen work for students and alumni even when the first thank you note yields no response. 

  • If you’re applying to their organization, thank the professional again for their time and insight and let them know you’ve applied to a position.   You can attach a copy of your materials if relevant. 
  • If the person gave you advice, follow up to confirm that you took the advice and take the opportunity to thank them again.  Examples of advice given:
    • Advice to reach out to another person.  If you get another connection, reach out to them!!!!!  Many alumni tell me that they alert their colleagues to expect a student to reach out to them after a networking event.  They feel good when they hear that you’ve done it.  
    • Advice to read an article or website.  Read it and let them know that you appreciate the opportunity to learn about the field or topic.  
    • Advice to join a professional association.  Check it out and let them know if you’ve become a student member. 
  • You can also follow up with an interesting article, video, podcast, etc., that you think is relevant and shows you stay current with the topic you discussed. 
  • If you identify a mutual connection, you can ask for an introduction. LinkedIn is a great tool to locate a mutual connection that you may want to be in touch with for an informational interview. Be thoughtful in your request and make sure you clearly note the reason for the introduction. 

STAY RELEVANT

Remember, that staying in touch with your connections means that you are staying on their radars and interested. A new connection may not initially have any opportunities to share with you. By staying interested and connected, you are more likely to hear about a position and more likely to get a positive response when you ask them to highlight you for a position to which you just applied. 

Remember that networking does not always yield results overnight. Be patient, stay in touch, and connect meaningfully to build relationships.