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VOL. 130 | NO. 75 | Friday, April 17, 2015

Angela Copeland

The Power of the Follow-Up

ANGELA COPELAND | Special to The Daily News

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As I reflect back on the past week, I’m reminded of the Multicultural Career Expo. Nearly 1,400 job seekers had the opportunity to connect with more than 50 employers.

Before the event, many people asked me what to do during the event. Oftentimes though, the most important work comes later. Whether you’re attending a job fair, interviewing for a job or networking, the rules are the same.

To prepare, you’ll need your own business cards. Even if you’re currently unemployed, there are many websites where you can order simple cards. You’ll want to include at least your name, phone number and e-mail address.

Keep your business cards with you everywhere: in your wallet, your bag, your desk and your car. The worst thing is to meet a great contact and then have to apologize for not having a card. Even worse is missing out on getting their contact information.

After exchanging cards with someone new, take a moment to write notes on the back of the cards you receive. It’s best if you can do this in a private moment when you’re alone. Write down the date you met them, where you met and any memorable details you discussed.

After you return home, send the person a follow-up e-mail. In the e-mail, let the person know how great it was to meet them at the event. Mention a few details about what you discussed to remind them of who you are. Then, search for the person on LinkedIn and send a connection request. Try to do these two steps within 24 to 48 hours of meeting someone new.

If you seem to have a strong connection with the person, make a note on your calendar to continue to reach out. Plan to send them an e-mail at least once a month to check in. Find out what’s new with them and share your latest career progress. If you don’t hear back, it’s not always personal. Especially when you’re e-mailing with a senior executive, their schedules can be very busy and they may receive many e-mails.

If you get the opportunity, ask this new person to have a coffee or lunch. If there’s no time to meet in person or if they work in a different city, try a phone or Skype meeting.

Staying in touch with contacts this way can often open new doors. In fact, once in a while, those doors lead to an interview. When that happens, follow-ups become that much more important.

Send each interviewer a thank-you e-mail the same day you interview with them – even if they’re not the hiring manager. Then, consider connecting with them on LinkedIn. Last, send a hand-written thank-you note to each person within 24 hours of your interview.

Whether or not you’re hired is not what’s important. You’re creating a new business relationship that you’ll want to nurture and grow over time. You never know what the future will bring when you take the time to follow up.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.

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