Networking: Follow Up, Follow Through

College, Real World
Courtesy of Pinterest

Courtesy of Pinterest

Follow Up & Follow Through: These are the two most important aspects of networking in my opinion. You have to continually follow up with the people you connect with. It keeps your name in front of them and chances are they may very well have missed the first email you sent. Following through is equally as important. If you say you are going to keep someone updated, then do it! You never know who their connections are, and when they may be able to help you in the future.

Following up before and after is essential. One email is not enough. After I was left hanging on a few occasions, I vowed to never do that to anyone. So far so good, but now that I have my first job, I can see how crazy the real world, and my industry (public relations), can get. It really isn’t that hard to skip over something in your inbox, or miss an email that got filed into your spam folder. Professionals must be diligent in looking out for requests, but students and job seekers need to keep trying. Trust me, I won’t think you’re annoying if you contact me more than once. It helps keep people, including myself, accountable. Especially if they have put themselves down as a contact on networks from their alma maters, in my case the Elon Mentor Network.

Following up after the interview is more important than you realize. Courtesy pays off and will help you be memorable. As Coach Skip Prosser said, “Never delay gratitude.” You need to be thankful for the people that help you because they will no doubt be the reason you get to where you’re going. Personally, I got countless informational interviews and three job interviews by simply following up with one person I had interviewed with. He told me to let him know when I applied for any positions because he may know people at that agency. Well, a week later I emailed him that I had applied for a position and without my asking, he already had a note into his two higher up contacts to look out for my application. It is nearly impossible to break through online applications without putting in that kind of effort. My contact also asked me to interview for a job at his agency, again without my asking. Follow Up! (Do you get the point yet?)

Following through is equally as important. By following through on my informational interviews and meetings, I was presented with countless opportunities and this allowed me to meet some incredibly smart people. Make sure you call or show up on time. Professionals don’t want to be left hanging if they block out a chunk of their time for you. Also, follow through if you say you will keep someone updated. As I have pointed out from personal experience, it can potentially help you get your foot in the door for a dream job, or at least the first step on the ladder to get there.

The percentage of students and recent grads that consistently follow up and follow through is so small, that doing so instantly puts you ahead of the game. Obviously there are more steps to networking, but after you put yourself out there, these are the two that complete the cycle and really make your effort worth it.

Follow up, Follow through, and happy networking!

Courtesy of Pinterest

Courtesy of Pinterest

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Tech Talk: Top 10 Must-Have Apps

Budgeting, Friends, Healthy Living, Real World, Recipes

apps

If you’re like me, then your smartphone is probably plastered to your hand during most waking hours. Our generation is the first of its kind in that we have access to unprecedented resources at our fingertips. In matters of money, love, friendship, networking, and healthy living, more than likely There’s an app for that. And so, without further ado, my top-ten list of must-have apps for your twentysomething life.

1) Mint
One of the sure signs of being in your twenties is that money magically disappears from your bank account at an alarming rate. Payday is on Friday, but by the time you account for rent, food, insurance and other miscellaneous bills, you’re desperately searching the couch cushions for loose change by Saturday. Luckily, Mint gives you a better way to manage your money. The app allows you to categorize and track all of your spending and shows you areas where you can save money. You never know, you might actually be able to afford to biggie-size your fries after all. You go Glen Coco.

2) iBartender
Once upon a time, there was a college undergrad who thought that the key to a good cocktail was to grab any kind of liquor and mix it with any kind of juice and ¡voila! mixology magic! It didn’t matter if you put so much alcohol in it that you could barely swallow because hey, drinks aren’t supposed to be fun, AmIRight?!

Umm…many rough mornings later, I’ve learned that the secret to avoiding that “Dear-God-If-I-Survive-This-I-Swear-I-Am-Never-Drinking-Again” feeling is to Know. What. You’re. Doing. The iBartender app provides easy drink recipes to impress your family and friends with. Plus, my favorite feature of the app is that it allows you to choose which ingredients you have available and gives you a list of drink recipes that are actually acceptable for human consumption.

3) Gas Buddy
Say it with me: paying for gas makes me want to cry. I don’t know, just something about spending almost four dollars for ONE gallon of gas just kills me a little inside. Thank GAWD all the stars aligned and somebody created the GasBuddy app. This little gem finds the cheapest gas based on your geographical location! Never underestimate the benefit of saving a few pennies at the pump. Those pennies definitely add up!

4) Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat

Do we even really need to discuss this one? Social media is, in essence, the bloodline of our young adult lives. We are a generation that needs to be connected 24 hours a day (whatever you definition of connected may be). Social media is like one-stop shopping: you can (not so) secretly stalk your exes, keep up with what your high school lab partner had for lunch today (because some things you just need to know RIGHT NOW),  and get the latest news and gossip all in one place. Downloading the app(s) on your phone ensures that you never miss a minute of the action. A few notes: 1) You are not invisible online. You never know who is watching what you like/post/tweet so keep it classy. 2) Snapchat is not an excuse for you to expose your kibbles and bits to the world. Put your clothes back on. 3) Taking selfies is, like, a thing now. I get it. However, please feel free to take pictures of something else. Thanks, Management.

5) LinkedIn

If I had to assign the most important word to the twentysomething years, it would be networking. After four years of undergraduate study, you are the proud owner of a shiny new diploma. Now the question is, what are you going to do with it? The job market is as competitive as it’s ever been and no one is going to know who the hell you are or what skills you have if you don’t market them appropriately. Every twentysomething should create a LinkedIn account, like NOW. This vast network of employers and companies is the perfect pool for you to cast your poor little unemployed net into. Use the app like a mobile resume: update your most current employment, add useful skills, and make connections with people in fields that are important to you.

6) Netflix

There is nothing – NOTHING – like being able to watch your favorite movies and TV shows while you’re dying of boredom in the waiting room of your doctor’s office. For just a few dollars a month you can have access to unlimited OMG moments wherever you are. Because sorting out that super awkward love triangle between Olivia and Fitz and Mellie all of a sudden makes sitting in that waiting room not so bad after all.

7) *insert your favorite smartphone game*

Candy Crush. Flappy Bird. That is all.

8) Pandora

This is one of my favorite apps for two reasons. For one, it saves me a ton of storage space in my phone because I can have all the music I want in one app instead of downloading my entire music library (complete with notable Miley Cyrus throwbacks before she was, you know, Miley Cyrus) to my phone. And secondly, Pandora stations are perfectly suited to whatever mood I’m in. I can switch to 2 Chainz radio when I wanna twerk somn’ giiirl, or throw on some John Mayer when I want to eat junk food and cry about why I’m not rich and famous like Beyonce. Either way, it just works.

9) Epicurious

This app is one that I just discovered recently and, let me tell you, this app was MADE for people like me. There are those of us who are…ummm…challenged in matters of culinary technique, and that’s okay! Because now, there is an app full of recipes broken down into every category imaginable. For example, the home page right now has recipes for chocolate desserts, spring cocktails, mother’s day dinners, quick breakfasts, and Easter desserts, just to name a few. Now, with just a click (tap?) you can find a list of ingredients and instructions to create actual real life meals. Because although Cinnamon Toast Crunch fulfills all the desires your twentysomething heart and stomach could ever have, I think we can do a little better.

10) My Fitness Pal

Rouding out my top ten is the My Fitness Pal app. Y’all..this thing is incredible. Some of us can remember a time when we could fold into a pretzel with no problem. Nowadays, climbing the stairs is the world’s greatest struggle and trying to bend over and touch your toes is just…not gonna happen. Luckily, this app is for all the fitness backsliders of the world. It allows you to keep a daily journal of food intake, calories consumed, and exercises performed. It also keeps you on track so that you can get healthy and lose weight in a safe and appropriate amount of time. Plus, you can add your friends and help keep each other on track. Summer is fast approaching-time to get it right, get it tight!

P.S. all of these apps are FREE! So, since you’re probably on your phone right at this moment or have it within a six inch radius of your hand, go ahead and download some useful apps! Your phone battery is going to run out too fast anyway – might as well spend it on something productive 🙂