Yeah, I know. This is a Personal Finance Blog, not really a career development website. But just go read Tricia's post at Blogging Away Debt!
Eventually, in everyone's life, we realize that we just need to move on from where we are. It could be because of salary growth, career opportunity, etc. But it's important to know what to do.
1) You have to follow through.
2) Make another contact after you get a business card.
3) Do it in 10 days or less. It will make a difference in people's memory whether or not they will recall handing you their card.
4) Be polite and try to mention something memorable about your meeting so that it jogs their memory.
5) Give them your contact information again, but a personal one so that if you leave the position on your business card, they will still know how to reach you.
6) Be nice!
Remember I met someone on the airplane
who gave me his business card? For kicks, I ended up browsing his company's website for what kind of opportunities they have. They are a large DC-based government contractor. (Big surprise!) They have thousands of employees all over the world. (Another, big surprise!) I have never really been interested in a security clearance because I have foreign-born parents, but it turns out I've ruled myself out of an employment opportunity without knowing it. I thought, what the heck, why not go through the process. What's the worse they can do? Say no?
I punched "Oracle" into the search box, since that's the core of my expertise. There were a few things that looked interesting, but for which I was underqualified. I'll probably keep on looking from time to time, but I know someone who is interested in re-locating to DC for better job prospects. Something in the listings made me think of him. Since I have a current resume for him and I kind of know what he's looking for, I did a few searches for similar work and see that there is work he might like doing at this company.
Heck, since I don't like what's there, but my friend might, I thought this would be a great opportunity to follow up on making the contact. I ended up sending a email to my friend, asking for permission first in sending off his resume, making the suggestion that he should search the listings himself and if there is an actual job requisition number he wants to send it to me. Then I drafted a nice email letting the man from the airplane know that it was nice to meet him, starting out with an apology because I think I gave him some slightly incorrect driving instructions. After that I wrote while nothing interested me, I think a know a good candidate for some jobs available and presented my friend's resume.
Hopefully in a week this person will respond. If not, I'll just email him one more time asking if he got the first email.
So I've killed two networking birds with one stone. I followed through on the intial contact and I've recontacted another professional associate and brought them together for potential employment.