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Great advice from The Lawyer Whisperer

September 8, 2016

I’m looking for a new job and I’ve met with several of my network contacts to discuss my search. Is it ok to follow up? If so, how soon…and what do I say?

Julie Q. Brush

Commit to look for new job. Check. Let your great contacts know you are looking. Check. Meet with contacts to network for job hunt. Check. So now what? Is this the end of the road with these contacts? Can…or rather should you continue to reach out to them during your search?

Professionals today are busy. Very busy. Crazy busy. So when someone you know takes time out of his/her day to meet with you and assist you with your search, it is a generous gesture…And a testament to the strength of that relationship.

During your meetings, I assume you discussed your background and what type of opportunities you are looking for. I also assume that you’ve asked whether there are any relevant opportunities with their employers (if applicable), if they know of any other great positions and if they can introduce you to other professionals. If you have discussed these topics, then your contacts are current regarding your job search and will keep you on their radar when positions come up. Objective achieved. Check.

Contacts are not employers for which you’ve applied for a job. So they should not receive numerous follow-ups or pestered. The only follow up should be a thank you note after your meeting expressing thanks and appreciation for their time. Once you first connect with your contacts and let them know you are looking (whether in person, by phone or email), you should give them space and trust that if anything comes up they will let you know.

But if you feel compelled to reconnect, I recommend that you do so only one more time – and wait at least 12+ weeks from your first meeting. Any sooner and you’ll come off as too aggressive – and the next time you want help you’ll get the brush off.

Below is some sample messaging if you decide on another ping:

  • “Hi Julie, thank you again for taking time out of your day to meet me for lunch back in May. I really appreciated your insights and suggestions. My search has been progressing and there are interesting opportunities in the market. I’m still proactively looking so if you learn of compelling positions; it would be terrific to stay on your radar. Many thanks!”
  • “Dear Robert, it’s been a few months since we had coffee so I thought I’d reconnect to stay on your radar in the event an opportunity opened up at Company X. While I’m not in a hurry to leave my current position, I admire Company X and would be excited to consider an opportunity with the company. Thanks so much for continuing to keep me in mind!”
  • “Hi Elizabeth, I hope all is well. Thanks again for meeting me for drinks in April. It was great seeing you and re-connecting! I’m still pursuing other job opportunities and am continuing to build my network. If you know a person or two whom you think would be helpful for me to know, I would appreciate your thoughts and a possible introduction if you felt comfortable doing so. Thank you!”

Having a tight network is a great thing. And when the people in it are willing to dedicate some of their time to help you, it’s pure gold. But it is important to be judicious about how often you leverage the same people in your network during a job search. Taking advantage will wear out your welcome and compromise the relationship.

You’ve done all the right stuff so far. Now it’s time hang back and trust that your contacts will do theirs.

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