Strategic networkers don’t “collect” business cards only to never talk with their owners ever again. Instead, choose to connect with people who are relevant to them, their interests, and their goals, and spend time establishing those relationships. This is the most effective use of your time when it comes to networking.
Think about it: If you want something to keep working, you need to maintain it. In most cases, you can’t just buy something and expect it to work forever. Think about your car, your house, or your computer. All of these things need to be maintained in order to work effectively for you.
Your network is no different. If you want to build a network that you can turn to for help (and know you’ll get it), you need to maintain it.
That means, you need to make an effort to check in with your connections regularly, especially when it comes to your college network. The more you keep in touch, the more likely they will think of you when an opportunity arises.
If you don’t make an effort to check in once and awhile with a simple “Hi, how’s everything going?” message, your chances of being forgotten increase, and your chances of getting help from your network decrease.
So, make sure you reach out to old classmates and professors to check in, see how they’re doing, learn about what they’re up to now, and simply reconnect. (Think you’ll forget? Put reminders in your calendar every couple of months telling you to reach out. This will help you stay on track and it will allow you to organize your networking efforts.)
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