The Best Way To Stay In Touch With Your Professional Network

by JOHN MUSCARELLO / Follow Me on Twitter Here

The Best Way To Stay In Touch With Your Professional NetworkIf you have ever built a successful friendship, you can build a powerful professional network.

When you first met a friend there’s a good chance that you met at a central location, had a great conversation, and decide to meet up again. If everything went well you continued to hang out.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to build a professional network is they ask for something right after they meet someone.

Would you ever ask any of the following questions below when trying to build a friendship?

  • Can you introduce me to your good-looking friend?  Networker’s version: “Can you please introduce me to the hiring manager of your company?”
  • Do you have any similar friends to whom you could introduce me to?  Networker’s version: “Do you know anyone else in the industry that is hiring that you would introduce me to?
  • Send a text message the next day asking for a favor?  The Networker’s version: Sending a follow up email: “Can you please forward my resume to the hiring manager, because I could really use a job?” (Here is an example of what a networking follow up email should look like.)

I know you are saying to yourself right now, “How ridiculous! I would never attempt to build a friendship like that.” If that were the case, why would you try to build your professional network that way?

Building your professional network is similar to the way you build a friendship (click to tweet)

The end goal of each is the same. You are building a group of people who care about you and whom you can trust and count on when you’re in a tight spot.

This is how you would build a friendship with someone you just met:

  • You would continue to hang out and build your relationship: going out to dinner, drinks, or coffee.
  • You would share things that the other person might find valuable: a great new nail salon, a great place to eat dinner, or a website with great relationship or fitness advice.

After doing these things over and over again, your relationship would get stronger over time.

Sharing valuable advice is one of the best ways to keep in contact with people in your professional network. I love to send great articles or helpful advice that my contacts will find valuable.

I sent the email below to the CEO of a public relations agency (where I use to work) that focuses on marketing to women.

“Good Morning Jill,

I thought you would find the below article really interesting. It talks about brands that are marketing to women without using the typical stereotypes.

The Courage to Advertise Without Female Stereotypes Marketing to Women: (link to article)

Have a great week!
John”

Her response: “Thanks for sending John. It’s great to hear from you. Please keep in touch.”

Why does a simple email like this build our relationship?

  • I am providing a very busy person with valuable information that I know she will love.
  • I am not asking for anything in return. There are no strings attached in this email, which is almost unheard of in today’s world of networking.

Think about how you feel when someone takes time out of their day to share something with you that they know you will love. It makes you feel special.  Successful networkers are experts in making people feel special.

Staying in touch with your professional network is crucial to your career success (click to tweet)

There is a good chance that you wouldn’t neglect your friends for six months, so don’t neglect your personal network either!

I want you to do two things

  1. Leave a comment at the bottom and tell me your favorite ways to keep in touch with people in your professional network.
  2. Email a valuable article to someone in your professional network. Your email can be as simple as the one I wrote above.

{ 24 comments… add one }

  • Jon

    How nice if we could always determine before a networking/career event or in volunteering or work who is worth investing in that will always respond back and is always sincere as we are when we reach out and even in our own nuclear/extended family lol.

    I sure do not get how come certain people known working for a social cause together while usually getting along well and they keep in touch afterwards, but suddenly one stops responding you to personally when nothing has been done and you clearly are doing good and reaching out. How nice if this was always emphasized to people and ones who don’t have the decency to simply respond back to the other’s goodwill after meeting or when there have been good, mutual exchanges at the least. Where is the law of karma and how come some truly good, sincere people must suffer such undeservingly and unjustly?

    One of the most hurtful and frustrating experiences encountered is when having met people at professional association events with card exchanges followed by me reaching out with genuine interest, but never hearing back despite various follow-ups despite writing in the advised form?
    It is taken personally and seems unfair affecting trust when it is encountered with certain people that are an officer of the association and seem respected in the community.

    What is one to do and how can justice play out with success deserved if one usually does his best to build genuine relationships with others and stays in touch with reaching out, but gets the worst short end of the stick with rudely not being replied back to or as bad encountering a stop in replies from someone else unclearly or worse unfriended on Facebook for no reason?

    How nice it would be if the other party is held accountable in replying back, following up on words or not ever doing any signal with a bond created especially when one party didn’t do anything.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • rega

    Keeping in touch is something I am terrible at, as I can’t manage to remember calling people until I actually need their help (which is way too late to call them).
    I found this app that does just that, letting you list your network and how often you would like to follow up. Using it made me a better networker 🙂

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.intracode.followapp

    Reply
  • Rylan

    Hello John,
    A few months ago, I accidentally helped the CEO of the company I am aspiring to work for on the street and after talking he advised me to keep in touch while I gain experience. I need advice on how to casually email every month or so, and possibly build the relationship.

    Reply
  • Varun

    Hi John,

    What if I need to connect with a person who I had met like 1 year ago. Is there a way I can connect with them? Will it look desperate to him? Please give me your insight on it?

    Reply
    • John Muscarello

      Thanks for asking a great question Varun. I just sent you an email!

      Reply
      • Varun

        Hi John,

        Mostly for a job. I am fine with renewing the relationship and then ask for a job. But my intent is getting an entry or referral in the company they are working.

        Thanks,
        Varun

        Reply
        • John Muscarello

          Just got your email. I will send you a reply there 🙂

          Reply
          • Hannah

            Great article! And I would love to see your answer to Varun’s question, as I am in a similar situation!

            Thanks
            Hannah

          • John Muscarello

            Here was my answer to Varun’s question

            I wold be honest with the person depending on how well you know them. You could email them and say, “I know it’s been awhile. We met at XYZ about a year ago. I recently saw a job opening at your company and I was wondering if you could put me in touch with the person hiring for the position? It would really mean a lot.”

            The approach is very direct and might work in this situation. Usually I would suggest reconnecting with the person and adding value, but the job might be filled by that time.

            I wrote an article call How To Follow Up After Networking Events For Job Seekers http://www.endlessjoboffers.com/job-seekers-follow-up-after-networking-events/. I would follow the advice in this article and customize it based on your situation.

            Instead of saying, “I am trying to break into the industry and would like to ask you 2-3 questions about your experience working at (current company).” You could say I am trying to break into the industry and would like to ask you 2-3 questions about what traits you look for when you’re interviewing people to work at (current company).

  • Thomas Kuhl

    John, I just started following your articles I found on Linkedin. I find them interesting and valid. It reinforces to me I was doing the rights things to keep and build my network. Too bad many managers out there don’t know how to do it and find it as a point of jealousy and contempt. I found that a quick email to keep the lines of communication is a great way to do this. Keep the articles coming and look forward to the next one. Thanks.

    Reply
    • John Muscarello

      Thank you for your kind words Thomas. Quick emails are the best way to stay in touch with people. You are offering value and not asking for anything. How can anyone not like that? Please let me know if I can ever help you with anything.

      Reply
  • Effie

    Dear John,

    I have just found your website….I have a careers fair next week and your articles are really helping me to prepare.
    Thank you for writing them!
    Effie

    Reply
    • John Muscarello

      Hi Effie,
      I am so happy to hear that. Please let me know if I can help you with anything. Thanks for making my day.

      Reply
  • Ellis Baumer

    John, just found your website today. I have been reading articles that you have posted for the last four hours and they are great. I have bookmarked many of them for future reference and also for my wife to read up on as well. I am now following you on my new Twitter account, so I can make sure I don’t miss anything new. I also think that the suggestion that Deb gave you about writing a blog post about LinkedIn invitations is a great idea. Thanks for all of the great posts!

    Reply
  • Deb Davis

    John, loved your article! It has a lot of relatable information in it and good advice. I hope more people read and use it. I have shared it with my network. I especially like the part in your follow-up email that says where you met or recaps part of your conversation. The one thing I would like to see you address in your articles is people that just push the button to connect that says please add me to your network. Don’t just push the button, take the time to say hello, tell me why you want to be part of my network or where we met.

    As far as my favorite way to stay in contact is 1st to share opportunities I see that others may be interested in. Second is to either drop a hello email every once in a while or pick up the phone. Also for those that work close to me is to set up a casual lunch date.

    Reply
    • John Muscarello

      Hi Deb,
      Thank you for the nice words and for sharing the article with your network.

      I would also like to thank you for suggesting that I write a blog post about LinkedIn invitations. That’s a great topic that needs t be addressed. I can’t stand it when some doesn’t include a customized message when they ask to connect.

      I love all the example you gave about how you stay in touch with your network. Picking up the phone or going to lunch are two great way to build a relationship. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  • Mingming Dong

    Thanks for sharing John. I like to invite professional connections to seminar/conference/workshop that would be helpful to their work and also are great chances to meet them and talk with them to continue the relationship.

    Reply
  • Tylor Paucek

    Just found your website. The content I’ve read so far is great. I can’t wait to read more. I really like the sample copy you use to make your points. Keep up the great posts!

    Reply
    • John Muscarello

      Tylor- You just made my day! Thank you so much for your kind comment, and I am glad that you are enjoying all the content.

      Reply
  • Steve Levy

    What lessons about networking did you learn from the breakfast you had with Mark B. and me?

    Reply
    • John Muscarello

      I think everything that I learned from you and Mark could be a huge series of posts. But here are some of my favorites. I learned to meet people in person, PICK UP THE PHONE, reach out to experts for help, be results focused when making a resume and answering questions in an interview, and make sure Mark is late so he picks up the tab ha 🙂

      Reply

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