By Angela Loëb
A client is using LinkedIn for her online networking, and she is doing a lot of in-person networking as well. She says she is having a “heck of a time” keeping track of all the people she is networking with and hoping to network with. She also wants to be sure she is following up without bugging them, especially when they haven’t responded to her initial outreach.
Does this sound familiar? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the increasing numbers of networking contacts you’ve been adding to your list, too? Are you, like my client, wondering how you can remember who you said you’d contact by when?
If so, I want to stop for a moment and give you a virtual pat on the back! Networking is considered to be the best way to get a job – more than 80% effective from what we hear. Now what can we do to help you get control over this networking overwhelm? Here are some useful tips for you…
Get Your Own CRM
To get organized, I would suggest you get your own CRM. My top suggestion is www.jibberjobber.com. I’d go with the free, basic plan for a job search. When Jason Alba started the site, he said that he wanted a contact record management system for his job search like salespeople have for managing their client database information… especially when he realized that his Excel spreadsheet wasn’t cutting it anymore. Jason is also the author of I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?!? He’s made jibberjobber.com capable of importing and managing LinkedIn contacts, too.
Mass Networking Through LinkedIn
In fact, Jason suggests that you make a “soft” contact with your entire LinkedIn list every 6 months. He says that you should send a note via LinkedIn to your contacts in order for your name to stay in their minds. I love that idea. How about sending out a question about something that you’d like to know, a request for a resource or maybe an interesting article (perhaps one about LinkedIn since it’s the one thing you have in common with everyone on your LinkedIn list)?
However, I realize that this is truly more of a career management tip. For job seekers, who need to be noticed more frequently, one trick I know that some do is to make a slight addition or change to their profiles every couple of weeks. These status changes show up in the updates feed on your contacts’ home page.
Hitting Your Hit List
Take your list of network contacts and rank them according to their importance to your objectives. Then break the list up into weekly cycles. For example, you could set a goal to connect with 25 people this week (5 per day), 25 next week, etc. Then cycle around to them again later once you’ve gotten through the list of contacts you deem most valuable.
How To Follow Up Without Becoming A Stalker
Marny Lifshen, co-author of Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women addresses this perfectly: “There are a variety of reasons that people will not return your call. Be persistent and keep trying to reach them but do not do so at 24-hour intervals. Two or three days is just about the right amount of time. After three unreturned calls, wait two weeks and try again. If you still get no response, you may need to accept that the person is not interested in talking to you.”