How to capitalize on holiday networking

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					How to capitalize on holiday networking

With all of the socializing that happens during the holiday season -- the
parties, the celebrations, the family gatherings -- there's a good chance
you'll meet a few people you'll want to stay in touch with and maybe even
one or two you think might prove useful in your job search in the new

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But when should you follow up with these contacts? How do you reconnect
without being a pest? Here are a few tips for making the most out of your
new relationships.

1. Follow up sooner rather than later: While it's a good idea to wait
until the busy holiday season has passed before reaching out to a new
contact, it's also important not to wait too long.

"Follow up early in 2012. The longer you wait, the less likely you will
be remembered," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of "The Wall
Street Professional's Survival Guide." "Be sure to remind your new friend
how and where you two were introduced and how much you enjoyed the
conversation. Offer a reminder, too, as to a shared interest or goal that
was discussed."

2. Use the new year to break the ice: If you haven't seen or spoken with
a new connection since your initial meeting, you may be unsure of how to
start a follow-up conversation. Fortunately, a New Year's greeting card
or email message is a great excuse to contact a new friend.

"Greetings for the new year are usually appropriate and cannot steer you
wrong," says Angie Maizlish, president of First Impressions, a career and
résumé service based in Utah.

Start by wishing the person a happy New Year and asking how the remainder
of her holiday season was. From there, express how much you enjoyed
meeting her and how you hope to get together to talk further.

3. Connect on LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with
professional contacts, because it allows you to get in front of your
network without being too personal or requiring people to commit too much
of their time or resources.

"Your new friends will now have a chance to see your updates -- and you
theirs. In general, keeping tabs on someone is easy on LinkedIn and a
very low-impact way to stay in touch," Maizlish says.

4. Don't be a pest: If you ask your contact for a phone call, face-to-
face meeting or introduction to another person or company, give him ample
time to respond before following up again.

"Let them know you'd like to stay in touch, and remind them of what you
are seeking and how they may be of help to you," says Patti DeNucci,
author of "The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships,
Referrals and Results in Business." "You can invite them to coffee or
lunch -- your treat -- but don't assume that their schedule will allow
it. Thank them and sign off. If you'd like to follow up again, wait a few
weeks. At that time, offer any updates. Do not cross the line into being
a pest. Remain upbeat, respectful and humble."

5. Share relevant information: One of the best ways to stay in touch with
someone without overstepping your boundaries or becoming annoying is to
share useful information and events.

"If you hear of a professional event or get invited to one that would be
of interest to this individual, share the details. That's a great excuse
to reconnect," Cohen says.

By becoming a valuable resource for your contacts, they will be more
inclined to help you should you need their assistance in the future.

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