Giving someone your business card is just the beginning of forging a professional connection.
Cat Miller of DiceTV says putting in just a little bit of effort beyond swapping paper will yield solid results.
"Your initial meeting is not too likely to land you a job," she notes. "And that's why it's so important to continuously build and maintain your network."
Here are 8 tips for how you can quickly and easily build a solid contact:
1. Send a follow-up email within 24-48 hours of your initial meeting
"You want them to see it while they still remember and are still excited about you," Miller says.
2. Keep the e-mail simple
Take just a few minutes to dash off a "nice to meet you", reference your conversation or follow up on topics you discussed.
3. Send something related.
Even better, show how you can be helpful by passing along a link or other resource related to the topic you discussed.
"What's important here is to just keep the conversation going," Miller says. "You still don't really know this person, though, so don't try to sell yourself yet."
5. Invite the person out for coffee or lunch
After the initial e-mail, Miller says you could offer to take the person out to coffee or lunch if you want to continue your discussion.
6. Stay in touch, but don't be a pest
Every once in a while, send your contacts an email and pick up the conversation again.
"Once that initial relationship is built, you only need to reach out once or twice a year to maintain it," she notes.
7. Reach out strategically
If you hear any news that may affect this person, drop them a note.
"If there's good news, congratulate them. This shows them that you care, and it's a great way to maintain contact," Miller adds.
8. Introduce them to helpful contacts
Miller says this keeps your name in the person's head, even if it's been a while since you've been in contact.
"And they'll always remember that you initiated that new relationship," she notes. "If you put the work in, they will be there to help you out in the future."