Yesterday, a colleague and I finally became connected on LinkedIn. We’ve known each other for awhile, but we had not invited one another to formally connect. How often does this happen? Quite a lot, I am sure. There are probably people who either you know so well you don’t feel you need to be connected on LinkedIn, or the other extreme, people you don’t know well enough to connect with. The point here is to be purposeful in your use of LinkedIn. Leave no stone unturned. In other words, make sure you regularly assess you connections and make sure you haven’t left someone out.
The idiom, Practice What You Preach, comes up daily for me as I launch my own business. It is the attention to detail I sometimes lack, so I wanted to bring them up here to hold myself accountable!
Follow up on every lead within 24 hours
Why 24 hours? Because, I’ve found, that after that you begin to forget details. Plus, immediate follow up demonstrates respect for the person who filtered you the information. Think about how hard it is for some people to share contacts. If they trusted you with their information, you really owe it to them to follow up quickly AND let them know the outcome, because they do want to know!
I have found it is really easy to push off this follow up. By the time the week is over, I feel guilty. Then I feel stupid. Ultimately, I may never follow up on that lead if too much time goes by. Use your sense of urgency!
ALWAYS send a Thank You
Whether by email or snail mail, always send a note of thanks. Again, that 24 hour time period is important. Send it out while your thoughts are still fresh. 3 simple paragraphs. First, why are you writing. Second, what qualifications or significant piece of the conversation do you want them to remember. Third, thank you and your closing, perhaps there is an action item or follow up date you want to remind them of. (If you are looking for more details on the Thank You letter/note, see this post.)
Research and Practice Your Answers Before Every Meeting
It is so easy to just run out the door to a meeting without having done your preparation. I know first hand. There is a reason you are meeting with that person and it is your responsibility to develop an outline of what you want to make sure is discussed. Especially if the meeting is an interview. Know the players! Learn about their backgrounds on LinkedIn. Research their companies. Know the answer to the question, “So what do you do?”
Are there things you know you should be doing, but don’t? Are you a procrastinator? How do you overcome putting things off?
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.