To help you make the most of your networking opportunities, we asked eight top professionals, including CEOs and Presidents, for their best follow-up strategies. From sending a personalized thank-you email to extending an offer of assistance, these leaders share their top tips on how to follow up with someone you meet at a job search networking event.
- Send a Personalized Thank-You Email
- Contact Quickly with a Call to Action
- Express Gratitude in a Personal Note
- Initiate a LinkedIn Connection
- Provide Value in Your Follow-Up
- Offer a Solution to a Challenge
- Propose a Meet-Up for Further Discussion
- Extend an Offer of Assistance
Send a Personalized Thank-You Email
A preferred method to follow up with someone met at a job fair is to send a personalized thank-you email within 24 hours. This email should express gratitude for their time and insights, reference a specific point from the conversation to show engagement, and suggest a future meeting or collaboration to keep the connection alive.
Contact Quickly with a Call to Action
One major mistake I see professionals making is contacting people they met at events weeks later, or even months after getting acquainted with them. There’s a high chance the new people you meet will forget you if you don’t contact them soon enough. Ideally, send an email or text message on the very next workday. Introduce yourself and mention where you met them to help them remember you. It’s best to drop in something from the conversation you had with them.
Tell them you had a nice time meeting them, and follow up with a CTA, such as, “I am hoping to discuss XYZ more, can you tell me when you’re free?” Or, “Here’s a link to the project I was talking about that you seemed interested in. Would love to know what you think.” Anything that encourages them to respond is good enough.
Anjela Mangrum, President, Mangrum Career Solutions
Express Gratitude in a Personal Note
As soon as possible after the event, send a personal thank-you note or email thanking them for taking the time to meet with you and discuss your prospects of finding employment in your field. Make sure you mention something specific from your conversation so they remember who you are.
Initiate a LinkedIn Connection
My preferred approach to following up after networking events is to simply send a LinkedIn request. No additional text, no pitch, just a connection request on LinkedIn, and then I wait to see if it gets accepted.
If my request does get accepted, then I reach out via InMail and begin a conversation, knowing that they are open to conversation. Of course, if they reject my connection request, then I know that they wish to be left alone and I do not bother them any further.
I like this approach as it’s a low-friction way of making that initial follow-up and gives the other person a simple way of ending the conversation early, without either party investing too much time. Additionally, I find that people are far more likely to continue conversations via LinkedIn than email, as it reinforces the professional nature of the conversation.
The text provided was already in good shape with proper American punctuation, grammar, capitalization, and hyphenation. No changes were necessary.
Provide Value in Your Follow-Up
In the intricate dance of professional networking, the follow-up is as crucial as the initial introduction. One method that proves effective at Ignited Results is the “Personalized Value Proposition” approach.
After meeting someone at a networking event, it’s recommended to send a tailored email within 48 hours. This email should not only express gratitude for the interaction but also offer something of value. It could be an insightful article related to their industry, a tool that has benefited you, or even an introduction to a mutual contact that could be beneficial.
The key is to ensure that the follow-up is not merely a formality but a continuation of building a meaningful professional relationship. By offering genuine value in your correspondence, you not only stand out but also lay the foundation for a lasting professional rapport.
Offer a Solution to a Challenge
In my journey as a lawyer, I’ve come to realize that successful networking goes beyond handing out business cards. The secret sauce is the follow-up. Now, I’m not talking about flooding someone’s inbox with brochures or dishing out a string of “hope to hear from you soon” messages.
Nope—it’s about finding a challenge they mentioned and offering a solution. That could mean sharing resources, linking them to someone who can help, or providing some solid advice based on your own experience. By doing this, you’re doing more than keeping the conversation going; you’re making yourself reliable and indispensable.
Propose a Meet-Up for Further Discussion
One thing you can do is ask for a time to meet up. Offer a coffee date if you live near the same location, or if you’re not, request a video or phone call. You might even want to phrase it as an opportunity to carry on a particular conversation you had at the networking event.
For example, you could say, “I would love to continue our conversation about the best practices in engineering. Could we meet next week and talk more over coffee?” Make sure not to wait too long to ask, however, as the opportunity could fizzle out.
Extend an Offer of Assistance
Offering help is indeed a great way to follow up with someone you meet at a job search networking event! It is wise to first offer assistance while establishing a networking connection before requesting a favor. Help the contact if you are able to in any way.
You can get in touch with them and inquire if there is anything you can do to help, whether it is by providing resources, putting them in touch with the right people, or giving them guidance based on your own experiences. It might help strengthen the connection you formed during the event and demonstrates your sincere interest in assisting them as they grow professionally.