Getting into the habit of following up quickly is one of the key qualities of all great networkers. You want to get people on your team and becoming part of your job search success. Recently, co-author Judy Thomson and I presented a Power of Positive Networking® session to a group of MBAs in Toronto. Prior to our presentation we had the opportunity to listen to a panel of alumni talk about their job search experiences. One of the panelists, Zack, shared the story of how he got a dream job with a Fortune 500 company. His contacts with this company, prior to being hired, were weak connections. They were a group of people who were not the key players, but they provided him with insight into the company. But, thanks to Zack’s strategy of keeping everyone in the loop, they became invested in his desire to work for this company.
Eventually, one of these contacts led to a meeting with the right person. Zack then went through a series of interviews. During the process he kept everyone inside the company, whom he had previously connected with, updated on his progress. Some of them went out of their way to put in a good word for him, while others who were in the HR department (but much lower down the food chain than the key decision makers) created a little buzz about Zack. He got the job. The bonus was Zack also had some built-in friends and acquaintances when he started work. Without overwhelming people with emails, think about those situations where keeping more of your “touch points” in the loop might be a good thing.
Not only is it good to keep people in the loop during the search process, make sure to ‘close the loop’ when all is said and done. When the job search is completed successfully (or not), follow up with all those who helped you along the way. Use your own good judgment if your thank you should be an email, handwritten note or telephone call. If their kindness and time resulted in some very good news for you (as in you got the job), send a handwritten heartfelt thank you. Remember, even if that person’s effort wasn’t the key reason you got the job, if they offered you some good advice along the way, then take the time to thank them.
These are important relationships to maintain and most of us have had mentors, or those who had helped us in career, but we’ve let those connections go cold. In retrospect, one can see the value in maintaining those relationships but it does requires making the effort to follow up on a regular basis. Sometimes it is as simple as letting these folks know about a promotion you received, a move you have made or something cool that has happened to you in your life. But, it’s not just about you. If they get promoted, move or win an award send them a kind note. It doesn’t take much to keep those mentors and supporters on your team!
Gayle Hallgren-Rezac is Chief Engagement Officer for the Shepa Learning Company, a training and development company. She is co-author of Work The Pond! Use the Power of Positive Networking® to Leap Forward in Work and Life (Prentice Hall, 2005) with Darcy Rezac and Judy Thomson. To sign up for a free weekly Positive Networking® tip go to www.workthepond.com.
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