The goal of informational interviews is to gain industry insights and expand your network of professional connections. But what happens after a great conversation? How do we keep this relationship alive and continue to grow? Here are strategies to continue to build your relationship with a new connection.
Send a thoughtful follow up message
Professional thank yous and correspondence post-meetings go a long way. This is your time to reflect upon the conversation and to recall next steps discussed. For example, if they referred you to a resource, blog article, podcast, etc, you can mention that you checked it out and your insights. If they referred you to a person, mention that you reached out to them. Expressing gratitude for their time and following up on action items is a wonderful way to continue to build trust and rapport.
Give a small token of appreciation
If you had a really great conversation with a professional, a small gift can go a long way. Sending someone a $5 Starbucks gift card, for example, and “buying them a virtual cup of coffee” is a small but impactful gesture to show your gratitude.
DM a link to an article, video, or podcast
You can send a link with a message such as: “Saw this article on TechCruch and it reminded me of our conversation. I wanted to share; hope you’re doing well!” This is a nice touchpoint and reconnection that can spark a conversation and continues to grow the relationship.
Introduce them to one of your connections
A favorite question to ask when getting to know someone is what are their hobbies/activities outside of work. This casts a wider net of possibilities of life intersections and shared interests between you, the person, and your network. For example, they may be really into travelling, and you have a friend/connection in a city they want to visit! We never know our shared interests until we ask, and this is another similarity that can present itself.
Update them with your milestones
Completing a capstone project, creating your github, or completing your bootcamp are all wonderful opportunities to update your network. These touchpoints can spark a more in depth conversation about your technical skills, an opportunity to review your projects, or maybe they were waiting for a milestone to introduce you to one of their connections. Keep your network and personal connections abreast of your updates!
Informational interviews provide personal insights and knowledge about industries, companies, career paths, and create opportunities for everyone. Try these ways to follow up after the interview and watch your professional relationships evolve!