Posted by Elizabeth Martin
“Take my card and stay in touch,” says the woman in 27D, following a mid-flight conversation about her business and your major.
“Take my card and stay in touch,” says your internship supervisor on your last day of work for his non-profit organization.
“Take my card and stay in touch,” says your favorite professor after an hour of coffee and talk of your thesis.
“Thanks,” you say to your contacts, while wondering what in the world you’ll do with a pile of business cards.
Students often tell me that while it’s been easy for them to make connections with others while taking classes, working on or off campus, or attending social functions, they’re not sure how to utilize or maintain the network they’ve built as they consider career options and apply for positions.
Below you’ll find five simple ideas for maintaining your network throughout the school year and even after you graduate:
Write thank you notes. If someone has answered your questions, given you a lead, reviewed your resume, or helped you in some way, acknowledge their efforts by writing an email or hand-written note as soon as possible after the interaction.
Organize your contacts. Students often use a spreadsheet to transform a pile of business cards into a document with organized contact information and notes from conversations. You may also find it helpful to track interactions (e.g., ‘sent thank you note to Mr. Harlan on 9/2/2010’) so that you know how often you are reaching out to certain contacts.
Give others something they need. Forward an article related to a professor’s work or a conversation you had. Offer to connect your internship supervisor with resources at Georgetown. Remember that you also have plenty to offer.
Follow up. If you are job-searching, let your contacts know the outcome. Send an e-mail to ask a follow-up question. Say hello to professors or other contacts at conferences or university events; mention a highlight of your previous conversation and ask how things have been since.
Help others succeed. As a man or woman for others, you can be a resource for classmates as they begin their own searches. Sign up to be in the Alumni Career Network when you graduate.
If you have questions about networking, stop by for a walk-in appointment (Tuesday -Friday, 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.) or attend one of our upcoming networking workshops (Tuesday, November 16 at 4:00 p.m.). We would be delighted to help you learn to network well at Georgetown and beyond.