I’ve been meaning to create this blog article for years. My apologies to any international student whose graduation has come and gone in the meantime, and may have been waiting for this. I’ve often said in my presentations that following up after an informational interview is both the most important part of the job search and the most challenging. It’s the most important because if you aren’t remembered you won’t be referred in the hidden job market. It’s challenging for some reasons that will be obvious to anyone who’s tried following up:
You typically don’t know your new contact very well.
You need to follow up with something of value (otherwise, why should the other person read your follow up?)
You often aren’t going to hear back from the other person
There is real art to good follow up. Your success depends on how well you listen to what your contact tells you in your initial meeting, how good you are at finding things in common, and your ability to think creatively on ways to re-connect. This article is a quick and dirty idea list that I hope you will be able to apply directly to your follow up, and that might spark some of your own ideas.
Don’t forget the general rules of following up. Give your contacts little “cookies” that they will enjoy reading. No cakes that they don’t have time to eat, regardless of how tasty, or that might be too sweet!
An important note: Not all of these ideas are mine! I’ll be adding to this list over time, and it would be great to hear your ideas as well. What’s worked for you?
Connect your contacts to
A fellow alum with common interests
Someone who you think they might get value from knowing (and specify why)
Someone who you know will be able to help them with a challenge they have shared with you
Share with your contacts
An article you came across that you think they might finding interesting
A blog that you feel is relevant
A tool you think might help them
An app you find interesting
An idea you heard in class related to your conversation with them (and ask their opinion)
News about mutual friends and acquaintances
Progress you have made in your job search
Steps that you’ve taken upon their recommendation (and what happened)
Other people you’ve spoken with upon their recommendation (and what happened)
A new idea that you have on how to address a challenge they shared with you
Anything that you come across that you think will help them with a challenge they shared with you
Further thoughts on your conversation
That you were reminded of them and your conversation because of something that happened during your day
Something funny related to your conversation or relationship