So you steeled up your courage and attended a networking event; once there, you smiled and chatted and collected contact info from people who might prove useful to your career; after you returned home, you diligently inputted that info into the spreadsheet or address app of your choice. Now comes the hard part: actually maintaining those contacts. In our ultra-busy world, it’s difficult to keep in touch with all your friends and family, much less that professional colleague you met at the conference last month. But unless you maintain your contacts, all that networking effort might go to waste—the longer you wait before reaching out, the more likely a particular contact will forget your meeting, especially if it was brief. Make it a point after a networking event to ping anyone you met with a brief note; if that first communication kicks off a professional relationship, reserve some time every so often to reach out and talk, even if it’s a few emails back and forth. The effort could prove well worth it later, if that contact comes through with a new project or job.
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