The Product of Networking
Keeping Track of it All
Now that you’ve been networking and gaining contacts, your collection of email addresses, phone numbers, and business cards is probably growing quite steadily. Now, it’s important to somehow keep track of it all. Depending on how organized you need to be to function efficiently, scanning the business cards, saving contact information, and organizing employers by practice area, sector, location, or size could save you a lot of time and prioritize certain cultivated relationships as your legal and career interests evolve. Additionally, once this contact information is organized, including a unique fact—like the topic of conversation or a mutual interest/connection—about the person or employer will be invaluable for the next step in the process.
Mastering the Follow Up
Next is the follow up. Metaphorically, this is when you harvest the fruit of the relationship you cultivated. The follow up could be as simple as sending the contact a timely email—within a week of when you met this person—thanking them for talking to you, dropping in a reference to what was talked about, and leaving your contact information. To bolster your follow up, your LinkedIn account now comes into play. Either as a standalone measure or in conjunction with a thank you email, if the contact has a LinkedIn profile, seeing your face will strengthen the already cultivated relationship.
Now that the follow up has been made, start developing the relationship. Without pestering the attorney, communication should be made when opportunities present themselves, such as information regarding an interview or if they’re currently hiring. Depending on the congeniality of the relationship, law students do have some wiggle room; but as in informational interviews, you do not want to “uproot” the relationship with unrelenting emails and phone calls.
Networking can be rewarding and can plant the seeds for the next stage of your career. I hope this series of posts provided encouragement as you begin to cultivate relationships.
Chidi Madu worked as a summer intern in 2015. Chidi is a rising 2L at the University of North Carolina School of Law pursuing a certificate in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Prior to Lawyers Mutual, he interned at Fortune 100 insurance companies, humanitarian aid organizations, and government legal practices.