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Create a Personal Networking Plan

Create a Personal Networking Plan

Wendy S. Enelow / Monster Contributing Writer

Process: Your initial contact will most likely be 50 percent by phone and 50 percent by mail or email, depending on how comfortable you are in these relationships and how easy it is to connect with each individual. Whenever possible, it’s best if the initial contact is a phone call, allowing you to establish a more personal relationship. However, if that’s not possible, mail or email is fine. Your conversation will be more formal than with your tier-one contacts, but your objective is the same — to quickly communicate that you’re in the job market and would appreciate their help.

Follow-Up One: If you’ve called a contact, follow up immediately by sending a resume. If you’ve mailed or emailed a contact, include your resume. Also forward a cover letter including the positions and industries in which you are interested and several of your most notable achievements.

Follow-Up Two: If you have not heard back from contacts within three weeks, call or email them and inquire if they’ve reviewed your resume and if they have any recommendations.

Managing the Process

Once you’ve developed your list of contacts and determined how to connect with each individual, set up a paperwork system to track all your calls, contacts and follow-up commitments. Referred to as your networking management system, it can be PC-based, on paper or a combination of both.

Here’s a tried-and-true, if not old-school, method: Create a 3-inch by 5-inch index card for each contact, noting how the contact was made, what information you provided, any follow-up commitments you’ve scheduled and the person’s complete contact information. If you hear back from a specific contact, set up a page in your active-lead three-ring binder where you record all communications, referrals and actions related to that contact. Obviously, this system can easily be adapted for your PC using Access or any contact management system.

Be forewarned: No matter how sharp your memory, if you do not keep track of your networking campaign, you will get lost in the process, forget important commitments and potentially lose great opportunities.

This article originally appeared on Monster Career Advice.

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