How to Maintain Your Professional Network

Hello, all! I’m here to help you maintain your professional network. Your professional network is an invaluable resource when it comes to getting into future programs, classes, and jobs. I’ve relied on my network for career advice, recommendation letters, coffee chats…in short: your network is incredibly useful. Someone you happened to meet that one afternoon in October might be the key to your next job!

1. KEEP AN ORGANIZED & UPDATED LIST

Personally, I have a google sheets set up to keep track of all the people I’ve met through my courses, networking sessions, job interviews, and other avenues. Think of this as your modern rolodex. This google sheet doesn’t have to be fancy — it doesn’t even have to be a google sheet! Use whatever method works best for you — and by best, I mean a method which you will actually keep updated. I prefer using a google sheet because it’s accessible from any computer and easily updated.

I roughly group the people I’ve met by profession / industry. Then, I alphabetize by last name and include several categories of information for each person:

  • Full name
  • Position
  • Company / school / employer
  • Description of initial meeting
  • Date & form of last contact (e.g. email)
  • Details of conversation
    • This one is key to ensuring a response even if your interactions with this person were fleeting at best. I like to write down any personal details gleaned from my conversation with this person (e.g. do they like sports? Do they have a sibling in college? Do they have plans to travel for the upcoming holidays?) so that I can later reference these in future correspondence, which increases the likelihood that a) this person will respond to a request for a chat/etc and b) this person will actually remember me.

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2. DON’T BE A STRANGER

So you’ve compiled your list of contacts — great! Now, you need to act on it. This doesn’t mean you need to reach out to every single person on your list. I’d recommend sending a brief email at the start of the year to the people you’ve had close contact with to wish them a happy new year and provide a quick update on your life. This email helps remind them that you exist and continues the relationship. This way, if you ever need anything from them, you aren’t contacting them out of the blue. Maintain your professional network!

Importantly, though, don’t over contact them. Many people are busy and you don’t want to come off as imposing another burden on their lives. This will vary by person, of course, but I like to keep the emails to once a year.

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3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO COLD CALL

If you need a job, don’t be afraid to leverage every resource you have. Seek out any connection — any connection — you might have and use it. Look for connections through your social organizations, sports teams, alumnae network, current coworkers…etc! I have a friend who landed an investment banking summer internship at a boutique firm solely through cold calling and emailing as many people as she could. Start off by asking for an informational chat and, if that goes well, ask for any job openings. Sometimes, companies will still interview you or keep you in mind for future postings even if they haven’t posted any openings online. Persistence pays off.

4. UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA IF APPLICABLE

LinkedIn is a great resource for keeping track of professional contacts. It’s also a fantastic way to get in contact with people you’ve never personally met — look to see if you have mutual contacts or professional experience and leverage those commonalities when reaching out.

We hope you found these tips on how to maintain your professional network useful! Let us know down below what strategies you use.

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