Be Assertive – Not Annoying: Ways to Follow Up Without Aggravating Anyone


So you followed the networking blog post advice & made some new contacts – good for you! Are you thinking, “Sooooo, now what?”

Job seekers often struggle with the notion of following up with networking contacts, so you’re not alone. Many are concerned that they will be perceived as a nuisance if they follow up with a contact too aggressively – which could be true, actually.

Is that what you thought I’d say? I know a lot of advice out there advocates what they would call an assertive, persistent approach, telling you, “You’ll seem motivated, which is a good thing.” Maybe.

But rather than risk annoying new people that don’t know you very well but do have a positive first impression of you (after all, you’ve exchanged contact information so something good happened, right?), follow up in one of these thoughtful, not aggravating, ways:

Be Genuine, Not Generic: Remember what you learned when you met them. Send an article or link you genuinely think they’d appreciate (not just any old thing just to send something)

Be Thoughtful, Not Thoughtless: Ask for their input on one specific question (not a long list – keep their time in mind) about whatever you talked about in person

Be Clear, Not Conniving: If you are hoping they will or are asking them to connect you with someone they know, make it clear you won’t ask that person for a job, but simply for information. They just met you, so they don’t know your intentions, so may hesitate to share their contact if they think you may annoy that other person with a job plea (which may also make your new friend look bad, too)

Be Friendly, Not Fake: Give a sincere compliment or appreciation for something you noticed while meeting them (just make sure it’s real or they’ll see right through it

Don’t send requests for generic info or long lists of questions. This is a new connection, so don’t ask for much time or effort from them. Seek whenever you can to offer something of value to them as well.

Lather, rinse, repeat as often as is logically natural to keep and build the relationship – don’t be persistent & risk being annoying. Just keep in touch from time to time.

And of course, remember a quick thank you email after they help you out, or that good first impression might change to feeling used or put out. And that’s never a good way to be remembered.