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Whether you are attending a networking event, building a new network, introducing yourself to executive recruiters, or reconnecting with former contacts, timely and effective follow-up is necessary. Networking/keeping in touch may not be your favorite activity; however, it is essential to cultivating relationships for the long haul. And those relationships could be your strongest supporters when looking for a new position.

Don’t drop the ball by forgetting to follow up after connecting with people. Think of networking like a bank account. You have to put something in before you can take something out. The effort you put into your follow up will reap big rewards.

networking_follow_upBe proactive in your follow up. A few tips:

Follow up within 24 hours. If you have just met a new contact or a recruiter, follow up with them as soon as possible while you are still fresh in their minds. Your follow up should be purposeful and if possible, contain some content that might be beneficial to that person (i.e. an interesting article, or specific information you can pass along).

Focus on each contact to build relationships. People generally like to talk about themselves, their personal interests, challenges, etc. By getting to know your contacts, you are building your bank of knowledge. This comes in handy. For example: when you know their challenge, you can present yourself (or an option) as a solution. People trust those they sense are genuinely interested in them.

Build your “bank” account. Maybe you were not the right candidate for a recruiter’s search, so introduce him/her to someone who might better fit the criteria. Recruiters appreciate your introductions as well as knowing you could be a resource for them in the future. They will remember you and may contact you at a future date about a position that is a good match for you.

Use LinkedIn to connect and stay current. LinkedIn is a great resource of information and connectivity. When building your network, check LinkedIn to invite new acquaintances to connect. You can learn a lot about a person from their profiles and may discover that you have more in common through previous employers or alumni of the same schools. Don’t ask questions in your invitation because LinkedIn only allows accepting or ignoring connection requests. Send any questions by LinkedIn message or email after you are part of one another’s network.

Other points to keep in mind to follow up with executive recruiters, as well as with other contacts…

Reconnecting and following up with executive recruiters, former colleagues, bosses, alumni, etc., is relatively easy. LinkedIn alerts you to birthdays, promotions, new positions, special announcements, and anything else that recruiters and other contacts may be doing professionally to notify their network. This provides you with you a great opportunity to follow up to acknowledge that connection for those career milestones or other professional activities.

Using LinkedIn to connect and follow up with recruiters is also beneficial because you can introduce recruiters to your contacts and vice versa. Plus you will be able to follow the recruiter’s activities, posts, and potential job opportunities.

One of the most important job search success factors is thoughtful and strategic follow up. As a BlueSteps member, take advantage of the benefits that BlueSteps has to offer.

Connect with executive recruiters and follow up within a week or two of your initial email to gently remind them of your interest in connecting or offering assistance. If you can be a resource for information and introductions at a future date, then reach out once again.

In addition, follow up also means that you will reach out to your contacts to tell them about your new position, to thank them again for any assistance they may have provided in your search, and to remind them of your desire to help them or someone they know so that they will reach out to you. That’s what makes a relationship meaningful and effective.

Fostering long-term relationships with executive recruiters—or any contacts for that matter—is about nurturing those relationships over time, not just during your job search, but also continuing after accepting a new position. This will give you solid ties to your network for years to come—not just when you need them. This also will help you to feel more comfortable when you do need to reach out again in the future.

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