Make the most of your networking efforts by following this advice:
Contact the right people. First figure out why you want to contact someone. Is it to gain information about an industry, company or specific job? To ask for a referral? Or simply gain some insight? Then contact only people with a relevant background or experience. The more specific you are, the better.
Draft custom email messages that make people sincerely interested in helping you. Forget the templates everyone’s using, and add some personality to those initial messages. That’s how you ensure a response—and land a face-to-face with your contacts.
Deepen connections through one-on-one conversations. Ask questions that are tailored to your connections and that will tap their specific expertise.
Become a hero-maker. People want to make a difference, so let your connections know how their advice or actions helped you. Tell them if you got the interview or job, and don’t forget to say “Thank you” for their time. That’s how you build relationships that last.