Now that Career Week is over—the workshops, the networking session, the career fair—what do you do with the business cards and emails from the professionals whom you met?
Circling back to the people that you spoke to last week, even though you met them only a few days ago, will reinforce what you’ve built to ensure the soft connections harden into a strong network.
Follow these steps to solidify yourself in their minds and to continue to promote your professional persona.
- Start (or add to) your excel document that lists your connections name, industry, company, email, phone, and the date that you met them. If you don’t have all of that information, include what you do have!
- In the Excel document, add notes about where you met them and what you discussed.
- Prepare an email for your connections. You can follow the formula below, but avoid a copy-and-paste of a generic email, because everyone knows that’s exactly what it is, and we want the connections to know you’re speaking to them personally. An example is provided below.
- Connect with EVERYONE on LinkedIn. Even if you only met briefly or stopped by their table for a few seconds, connect! It’s what LinkedIn is for, and it will give you the chance to deepen those connections over time
- Find the companies you talked to at the Career Fair on LinkedIn and “Like” their page to stay involved with their hiring practices and company posts. Comment and react to what they’re posting to stay in the mix.
- Finally, if someone reaches out to you, respond within 24 hours to make the best impression.
- Start with a statement about how nice it was to meet them
- Add in a sentence or two that references what you discussed and the information you learned from them
- Close with an invitation to talk further when they have time, and include your cell number and the URL of your LinkedIn profile
- Sign off with your name and graduation year.
Dear Mr. Smith,
It was really great to have the chance to meet you at the networking session during Career Week. I particularly enjoyed talking with you about your time at Longwood and the steps you took after graduation to get hired at your first job. It helped a lot to hear from a graduate about what it’s like to apply for jobs for the first time. I hope we get a chance to talk again when you have some available time. You can reach me at 804-555-5555, or on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/jennifer-student-name/.