Guest blogger Cyone Batiste is originally from New Iberia, La and is currently working in Houston, Texas. Cyone graduated from Louisiana State University in May of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a concentration in public relations. After graduating, Cyone moved to New Orleans to work as the public and media relations manager for the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. In May, she moved to Houston to work as the marketing and PR manager for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four. Cyone enjoys Scandal, 90s TV shows and cheering on her Tigers!
In college, it is so easy to keep in touch with your friends, bosses and professors. You talk to them in class, wave at them from across the quad and study with them in the library. But once you graduate, leave an internship or start a new job, it seems hard and sometimes awkward to keep in touch with those whom you’ve established relationships with. At the risk of sounding like one of your professors, maintaining contact with those professionals is imperative and will help you throughout your career. During the 2014 PRSSA Region 5 Conference in Baton Rouge, keynote speaker Lauren Berger, aka “The Intern Queen,” discussed the importance of establishing and maintaining professional relationships. She suggested connecting with your contacts at least three times a year. This timing will allow you to have things to catch up on and to remain top of mind to those you may not be in contact with on a regular basis. She used a series of acronyms, but one stuck with me because it was very simple: K.I.T. Keep In Touch.
Here’s a few easy ways to K.I.T.:
Thanks to social media, it is virtually impossible to forget someone’s birthday. With Facebook alerts, birthday party invites and those embarrassing tagged TBT photos from mom, it is now very easy to send a birthday shout. Sending someone a “Happy Birthday” email is such an easy way to spark up a conversation and keep the lines of communication open. They will be thankful for your kind words, and honestly, who doesn’t love an unexpected birthday wish?
“Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!” As cheesy as it may sound, sending out a quick and easy email to your former colleagues, bosses and friends will spread the holiday cheer and keep you top of mind. Similar to birthdays, these sentiments lead to additional conversation—you start catching up and before you know it, they’re telling you about a job opportunity they know of you’d be perfect for.
Thanks to good ol’ social media, it’s easy to stay up-to-date with what’s new in someone’s life. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn alert you when a contact has a new job and even prompt you to “like it” or congratulate them. A career change such as a promotion or big move is an easy way to get the conversation started.
Throughout your college and post grad experiences, you’ll have tons of questions and often need guidance, encouragement and support. Emailing your mentor to have coffee or lunch is an easy and great way to start a conversation, ask for their advice, learn from their career stories and really connect on a more personal level. They’ll be happy to hear from you and will appreciate the meal.
No matter how you choose to keep in touch, just make sure that you do. As millennials, we often feel like we’re bothering “seasoned” professionals when reaching out to them frequently. In actuality, they enjoy hearing from us and about our continued success. Think of it this way—when you work at an internship during college that helps you land your first post-grad position, your former employer is happy to hear that. They’ve invested time and energy teaching and preparing you for that position, so they want to be a part of your success as well. If that’s not convincing enough, think about when you’ve helped your classmates study for a big exam. What if they got an A and never told you? Because you helped them prepare, you feel connected to that exam and you want to know and celebrate their success. It works the same way with professionals. If you feel uncomfortable connecting, gauge their engagement and determine your communication levels from there. Everyone is different—I’ve had bosses who prefer a standard, formal email and others who are fine with a text or tweet. Again, however you chose to communicate, be like Nike and “Just Do It!” You’ll be glad you did.