It sounds obvious. But, in your busy world of balancing classes, homework, studying, extra-curriculars, workouts, meetings, and of course, making time for friends, staying in contact with your network often becomes a low priority in comparison to everything else. Here’s how to make sure you fit it into your busy schedule with everything else:
- Create a spreadsheet. While networking may be more art than science, ensuring that you stay up-to-date with your network can be more science than art. I created a Google spreadsheet and everytime I met someone new, I entered their name, position, email address, and any other relevant information I may want to remember. (For example, a place they previously worked, a fun talent they have, etc.) I also recorded any time I had contact with them, whether it be an email, networking event, or informational interview.
- Don’t call on your network just when you need them. The secret to staying in contact is just that — staying in contact all the time, not just when you’re looking for an internship/job/potential opportunity. A spreadsheet helps you see how long it’s been since you’ve connected with someone. I’ll periodically check my spreadsheet and if it’s been a while since I talked to someone, I’ll drop them a quick email just to say hi and check in.
- Use social media to your advantage. Don’t limit yourself to just email or in-person exchanges to build your network. Send a LinkedIn message if you see someone got a new position or posted an interesting update. Comment on their recent blog post. Retweet or respond to a tweet from someone in your network. I created a list in Twitter with someone of the top individuals and companies in my network, making it easy to monitor their updates.
How do you stay in contact with your network? Share your best tips in the comments below or tweet your thoughts to me at @abbynicole1204.