Following up with individuals who you meet at scientific conferences, networking, and other activities is important to develop relationships with your connections. Over time, these relationships can provide insight into industry, various career paths, and job opportunities. These should be actively fostered. Below are tips on how to follow up and cultivate your network that extend beyond the initial “nice to meet you at (fill in the blank) scientific conference / networking event” email.
Read industry relevant newsletters and follow up with your contacts
Stay current with industry news by reading sources such as Xconomy http://www.xconomy.com/ (for entrepreneurial companies), Fiercebiotech http://www.fiercebiotech.com/, Biospace http://www.biospace.com/ or MassDevice http://www.massdevice.com/. Various news sources exist for each focus area, so identify ones relevant to you. When you see news about a contact’s company, email them to mention it. For example, congratulate them for their firm’s successful commercial approval, or fundraise, or partnership. Your contacts will appreciate that you are paying attention to their company and keeping in touch.
Stay in touch on LinkedIn
Use LinkedIn to stay in touch with your contacts. Add details to your profile so that your connections can see your background and experiences. Use the status update feature on LinkedIn to let your contacts know when you publish papers and speak at conferences.
Get involved in networking groups or industry associations
Take an active role in a networking group like healthcare business women’s association (http://www.hbanet.org/) or an industry association such as the Boston chapter of AACR http://aacrboston.org/ to build connections with people who share your same passion. Hundreds of organizations exist to become involved in, so identify relevant ones to your background and interests. Join a committee within the group, such as event programming, and actively attend the group’s events. Your involvement will build connections and allow you to stay in touch with people who are also active in the organization.
Invite your connections to speak on a panel
When your school or networking group is looking for speakers for career panels, industry focused events, or seminars, reach out to your contacts and ask them to participate. Even if your contacts cannot participate due to schedules, they will appreciate that you reached out. This is a wonderful way to keep in touch.
Ask your connections for career/industry advice
Ask your contacts about their career path, how they chose it and what guidance they would provide for someone looking to be in a similar career. People enjoy helping others and feel good when they can provide advice, especially career advice.
Let your contacts know when you publish a paper or speak at a conference
Share details about your recent publications, presentations, conference abstracts, or other scientific details with individuals who have expressed interest in your research. Through this, you build thought leadership and become a resource for your contacts.
Numerous opportunities exist to follow up with your connections. Tailor your approach and use multiple avenues of engagement. Through your effort, not only will you build connections, but you will gain a lot of industry knowledge as well.