I would be the first one to agree that finding ways to keep in touch with your business contacts during a job search is more art than science. That said the old saw “out of sight, out of mind” applies here.
At the end of my two year job search which began in 1991, I had about 1,400 index cards with the names of those I had contacted for one reason or another. I also had these names in a database of some kind as I recall, but nothing as sophisticated as is possible today with contact software management software.
The reason I had all of those names on index cards was so I could carry them with me. (Hard to believe, but this was before laptops even existed. Actually, they hadn’t been invented yet. We also rode horseback because cars hadn’t been invented either, but I digress.)
As important to me as being able to carry them with me was the ability to make notes on the conversations I had. Why? When I called anyone again, I wanted to be able to pick up the conversation where it left off. Hard to do if you couldn’t recall what you discussed.
Regular follow up with your business contacts is important. How often and what to say when you do are the real challenges. And, that is what I would like all of you to think about and write in your suggestions.
One reason to communicate with them is to introduce others. “Hey, Bob, this is Matt. I would like to introduce Barbara Smith to you. She is also from our industry and worked for one of your competitors. There may be folks at XYZ Corporation who would like to pick her brain. Would it be all right if I have her call you?” This sounds a lot better than: “Hey, Bob, this is Matt. I’m still out of work. Do you have any more networking contacts for me?”
Bob really has no choice but to call you. He is going to be impressed that you took the time to share the background of someone appropriate. And, when he calls to say yes or no, he just has to ask you how things are going.
That’s my tip on this important issue. What are your ideas? Please send them to Leads@TheFENG.org and Leslie will publish them in our “Notes From Members” section. Be sure to be clear if you want your name used. Use the subject “Working your contacts” so Leslie will be clear it isn’t a job lead.
Sharing our knowledge is what The FENG is all about. I hope many of you will participate.