The “thank you note” after you finally got to meet an interesting network contact, or even the firm offer for that dream job, do not represent the end to the networking effort if you are serious about it and you want it to be a tool that helps you build your career and win “the long game”, as Jocko Willink says.
If you are in pure network expansion phase
The coffee or phone/video chat is not the end, but rather the start. Apart from sending a timely thank you note, you should add your notes in your tracking system, and put a reminder to “future you” on when you should contact again this specific person. In more than one occasion in the past, by following up systematically and throughout the years, I ended up building profitable business relationships and landing dream jobs. In one specific case, it took me 6 years of continued “coffee efforts” every 6 months to get to that desired job; and when to the untrained eye it was “a very lucky strike”, I saw it as “I was at the right place at the right time, because I consistently helped fate” to be there.
You’ve got an offer for a new job, now you can stop networking completely (…not really)
Although one can get tired especially after long recruiting efforts, I strongly suggest that after an appropriate “cool-off period” after landing that job, you resume your networking efforts.
- First of all, to avoid losing the ability to do it.
- Secondly, because it will be much easier now that you don’t have the pressure to get a job, but rather do it to continue to meet interesting people, deepen your network and learn about new ideas.
- Thirdly, you never know when you will need it again for the next job and, as mentioned above, the dream job can take years to mature and depends on building relationships outside of the formal recruiting circles
- Finally, because your job, either now or in the future, will very much depend on the quality of your network and connections
The reminder: keeping that share of mind and getting a ticket to “be in the right place at the right time”
I have been recommending our clients at BIF to have a master file with their networks and incorporate the ability to set reminders for the next time they need to catch up with each contact. Be as fancy and sophisticated as you like, but make sure that you follow up with the contacts 3 to 6 months after each coffee, especially around “back to school seasons” (ie. after the Summer, or in January), or when you have a “great excuse” like a change in jobs, a new project, or something related to your last conversation/s with the contact.
By forcing yourself artificially, at the beginning, to re-connect with people, it will become an ingrained and long term habit, which will increase dramatically your odds of being at the right place at the right time, for example, calling that contact who will, following a catch up coffee, connect you to the exact contact that will land you your most desired job.
Get in touch to discuss our Breaking into Finance individual program, the core of which is how to start or strengthen your networking abilities, be it for the build-up of your network or getting your next job.