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How Not to Follow Up After a Networking Event

Gather around, job seekers, and read the tale of the (thankfully, anonymous) man who wrote the worst follow-up email in the history of networking.

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(Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages/Flickr)

Business Insider reports that a student at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee sent the following email to a financial recruiter, after a networking event:

Subject: Question

Hey REDACTED,

We talked a couple weeks back at the UW-Milwaukee accounting night. (I was the one looking for equity research positions and had a zit on my lip that could have passed for a cold sore. Lol. Whew. It was not. You're probably like, "uh.. What?" Maybe that helps you recall, maybe not. Not completely important, I suppose.

Anyways, if you have a chance here is my question: (background first) I interviewed with BDO and Baker Tilly today, two firms that seem like good places to work, I believe they don't kill you like a big 4. Tomorrow I have an interview with Deloitte :O somewhere I thought I've always wanted to work. Obviously I don't have an offer so this is all hypothetical thinking, but if I get the job, the reality of the situation is that I'm getting old. 25. I know you can't force love and I know it just comes when you're not looking, but would working for a big four completely squash any possibilities for potential relationships if one came along? Is working for a big four a potential career - love trade off? I mean, I like money(as do most females) but love is...great :) What are your thoughts?

Thanks!

REDACTED

Sent from my iPhone

Where to begin:

1. Repeat after us: the recruiter is not my friend.

Well, first of all, there's the general tone. Business Insider originally found this story on BroBible, and that's what it reads like: a casual email from one bro to another, instead of a piece of professional correspondence.

Any email, letter, or phone call you make to a recruiter should be professional and businesslike. You don't need to adopt a stilted tone, exactly, but you want to be on the warmer side of formal. Don't assume a familiarity that you don't have. Alison Doyle at About.com's Job Searching site offers several examples of follow-up letters for job interviews that work nicely as templates for this kind of email.

2. Do not use emoticons.

If the email looks like it could have been sent via text message, it's too informal. Don't use emotions, text-speak, or slang.

3. Don't engage in TMI.

This goes along with No. 1 on our list, but it bears repeating: do not tell the recruiter about your zit/cold sore/medical or aesthetic issue. As a society, we have all agreed that while we are in a professional setting, we will pretend that no one has facial blemishes. This is one of the best things about having a job, besides occasional free food at meetings. Don't blow it for the rest of us.

Furthermore, do not attempt to engage the recruiter in discussion of your love life, even as it relates to the potential job under discussion. If you must bring up your personal life, do so under the blanket of "work-life balance" concerns. But consider leaving those for a later point in the job search process than exploratory emails.

Tell Us What You Think

What's the worst example of a networking follow-up you've ever encountered? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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