Hello, It’s Me: Follow Up Do’s & Don’ts

Want to meet awesome professionals and ambitious young creatives such as yourself? Join us at one of our in-person or virtual events! Learn more at findspark.com/events

When on the hunt for that dream job or internship, we send out resumes, head to conferences and networking events. Those conferences and networking events are beneficial. You know the saying, it’s all about who you know. So you go to an event, talk to new people, exchange business cards. But the most important thing is what occurs after the event is over: the followup.

FindSpark hello follow upFollowing up can be the deciding factor in whether you have actually made a connection or not. Grab a pen or pencil because there are several do’s and don’ts to following up.

Do: Say Thank You

Your email should include a thank you. It’s simple courtesy to say thanks to him or her who took the time to offer advice or information.

Do:  Be Specific

You have the contact information of that important person you met at the networking event, kudos to you. When you want to write your email, it’s important that you have something to say about the encounter you had with that person. It could be a particular piece of advice that they offered, an anecdote that they shared or even something you admire about them.

This is necessary because a) It shows that you were listening when they spoke, b) It’s nice to feel appreciated and admired, and c) it helps them remember you and the conversation you had. Be it an informal interview or a networking mixer, that professional invested time to meet and speak to you. Therefore, it puts you in a favorable light to show that you were present by remembering what was said.

Do: Ask to Meet Again

Following up is not just sending out an email. It’s actively trying to keep in touch with that person you spoke to. Don’t be afraid to ask if it’s possible to meet that individual again. You can ask to meet again because you might have more questions or information that you weren’t able to get out the first time. When asking to meet again, you should be respectful of the other person’s time. Tell them your schedule and ask what works best for them.

Do: Be Brief

Your follow up email is not a novel or memoir. If you try to add too much information, you risk the possibility of having your email disregarded because people often don’t have the time. So, keep it short and sweet. Start with a thank you, reference your conversation, add some information about your career aspirations, ask to meet again – and you’re good.

Now, let’s get to those followup don’ts.

follow 2

Photo Courtesy of Boris Riabov

Don’t: Ask for a Job

You should not start your follow up email by asking the person for a job or internship. You have to be smart about your word choice. Just because you met someone important doesn’t mean that they are obligated to get you that job or internship.

I know what you’re thinking: “but I need a job!” That could be your end goal, but it’s all in the way you go about it. Tell your new connection that you are looking for opportunities, and be specific about what kinds of opportunities so it’s easier for them to help you. But let them be the one to offer to pass on your resume. Don’t assume that they’ll be willing to help.

Don’t: Be Aggressive

If you’ve sent your follow up email and you haven’t heard back in after a day or two: relax. You don’t need to send in three follow up emails with no response. It’s important to remember that others have multiple things to do in a day. When at work, there are several different tasks to complete. If that person hasn’t replied to your email immediately, give it time. If you haven’t heard back after a week or two, you can send another email, or try reaching out on a platform like LinkedIn or Twitter. Just be mindful of the fact that people can and do get busy.

Don’t: Expect Too Much

Yes, making connections does help you in your career. But not everyone you meet will get you a job this instant. However, they can offer you valuable advice from their experiences.

When following up with others, you have to keep your expectations in line. Sometimes, though a person might want to help you, their company might not be hiring or the person might not be in a position to help. You can gain something from any connection because there is much that we can learn from one another. The benefit of the connection just might not happen right away – and that’s okay. Keep connecting and bringing your A game.

Do you have any comments or suggestions on following up that you’ve gained through your experience? Let us know in the comments.

Want to meet awesome professionals and ambitious young creatives such as yourself? Join us at one of our in-person or virtual events! Learn more at findspark.com/events

About the Author

Isioma Ononye is a Blogger at Crossing Over, Contributing Writer at Her Daily and Social Media Specialist. She's passionate about communications and working on causes that pertain to supporting women and girls. She's often found discussing literature, politics or her dream of meeting Oprah. Follow her on twitter @IsiomaOnonye and read her blog at isomaononye.wordpress.com

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