Q: I just completed a master’s in hopes of changing careers. I have been trying to network and conduct informational interviews with people who are already working in my new field. I am not a naturally extroverted person, so all of this is a challenge. My question is, how do I maintain contact with such people? What kind of follow-up or ongoing relationship is appropriate and beneficial?
A: Stay connected with the people you meet through tools like letters, cards, e-mail, voice mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, press releases, articles, etc. The idea is to keep yourself at the top of their minds by providing them with things that add value to their lives. So, anything you send should respond to their interests and goals.
You can find what sorts of things will appeal to them by saying in your informational interviews, “I’d also like to know what your goals are. If I have an opportunity to help you out or if I see something that might be interesting to you, I’ll send it to you.” Remember, effective networking is always a two-way street. It doesn’t matter that someone has more experience or contacts than you. No one can be in all places at once, gathering all possible information. An extra set of eyes and ears can be of great value.
Staying connected and adding value can also include “interconnecting” the people you meet. For example, if you are interviewing with a director of an agency and meet a director of another agency, find out if they know one another. If not, you could introduce the two. Everyone is always looking to meet new people. In this day and age it’s the wise thing to do, because you never know when you’ll be looking for another opportunity.How to Stay in Touch and Network With People in a New Field by Granted Contributor