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I am just about to finish an under graduate work placement that I have been on for the last few months. During my time I have been working on a project with someone as a supervisor (he was not my line manager though) who is quite high up. It is a large company (about 1,500 employees) so this is quite significant.

Anyway to cut the story short, I finished the project and in an email he wrote that I had done an excellent job and I should stay in contact with him after I leave. I have one more year of college before I receive my bachelors degree and I would love to get a graduate job at the same company. Therefore I need to keep up conversation albeit not regularly but enough during the year so I'm not forgotten.

I cant really say 'Hey whats up? Hows it going? Did you watch the match?' etc.. What do I say that is professional?

Edit: I think it is important to note that I did not have anything else in common with him while I was on work placement other than this one project. He was just a supervisor to me for the project. Like I said he was in a completely different department.

  • In your tenure did you go to lunch, drinks, etc ever with him? Or duing break etc. – Brandin Aug 22 '14 at 18:35
  • Btw I like this question but the title is confusing? How do you keep in touch in a professional manner? BTW the answer is not some website that ppl form "connections" on or whatever. I think the personal touch you're going for in your question is already leading on the right answer here. – Brandin Aug 22 '14 at 18:38
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    You can invite too. Going for a coffee, beer, lunch or whatever to me is totally business appropriate if approached the right way. If you invite he should definitely at least get the message that you want to keep in touch. When you're there you can talk about whatever, i think a mix of casual and business anyway that's what i would like. It's not a business meeting (and if you're not currently in the company right now there's probably a limit to what he should tell you about current projects!) – Brandin Aug 22 '14 at 18:41
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    @Brandin These comments sound an awful lot like good answers to me--why not add them? – Garrison Neely Aug 22 '14 at 18:59
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    Is the job local to your school or is this a long-distance "keep in touch" only? (Please edit the question rather than answering in a comment.) – Monica Cellio Aug 22 '14 at 19:10
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In the past, as a matter of keeping in touch with people that I don't know very well, I have sent them articles, blog posts, on topics that I am interested in and that they may also be interested in.

I would usually start with something like:

Hello, Have you seen this article (http://example.com) on the Sumaprotolargon module? This is kind of interesting. I am wondering how they managed to get those results. By the way, how have you been doing, I often thing about the interrnship and what I have learned there. I am looking forward to graduate next summer and join the work force...

This way, you are showing an interest and you have a way to start a conversation.

  • The idea of sending something like an article as an ice breaker is perfect. This is exactly what I was looking for. It is appropriate, it sends the right messages and most importantly professional. – Ben Aug 22 '14 at 19:38
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    Depending on the nature of your work (I will use programming as an example) another excellent Ice Breaker is to pick out a nice debate topic and ask the person's opinion on the matter. "Hey Bob, there's been a lot of talk lately about whether the bootstrap library is good for easing up styling, or bad because you essentially marry into using it, I was curious what your opinion was. How have things been at <company>? I really enjoyed my time there and hope when I graduate next summer I can land something as pleasant as it was there." – RualStorge Aug 22 '14 at 19:46
  • To be honest, I find it a bit annoying when people email me regularly with "interesting articles". Imagine if everybody you knew did that, it would be like a decade ago when everybody you knew forwarded jokes to you via email 10 times a day... – CaptainCodeman Aug 22 '14 at 23:06
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    @CaptainCodeman If the article is sent without intend to discuss, this would be annoying. What I am proposing is really to prompt further conversation and help with networking. – user13673 Aug 23 '14 at 6:57
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    @CaptainCodeman, this is a senior manager who specifically asked her to stay in touch. This is a good way to do that. – HLGEM Aug 25 '14 at 19:19
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For starters, ask him to connect on LinkedIn. That platform exists especially for business relations.

You can also check (ask) in what LinkedIn groups he is active and join those as well. Then see if you can contribute to the group, so that you stay in the picture. (That may not be the case, but then nothing is lost)

You can even ask him if he recommends any groups that you might both be interested in.

Also, investigate if there are other online platforms that you can connect, that you both like. Facebook may not be appropriate (that's more for 'friends'), unless he suggests it.

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Before you leave, exchange email addresses and add him on LinkedIn; that's one of the most useful things about LinkedIn.

Regarding how to stay in touch: First of all, there is nothing unprofessional about saying "Hello, I hope you've been well! I thought I'd drop a quick line to say hello. I've been busy working on XXX, starting my own company, I got married and had a baby, etc. How are you? Are you still at YYY?"

Then if he replies, you can invite him for a meal or a coffee. If he doesn't reply you can try again a while later, but you most likely have a dead connection.

To avoid a dead connection, it helps to have something to talk about. It's a bit too late to establish that now, but for the future, when you make friends with someone at work that you would like to stay in touch with, make sure you have some conversational reference points that you can refer back to. For example, if you have a conversation with him and he tells you about a personal project he's been working on or that he just had a baby, you have an excellent topic to bring up when you email him later: Ask him how his project or baby is doing.

Finally, if you really want to ensure that he replies to your emails, it helps to extract a subtle promise that he will stay in touch. For example, ask him "If I have a question about XYZ, can I just email you"? He will almost definitely say "sure, of course" (because nobody will ever say "no I won't have time to reply to your email" to your face). After that, if you email him he will be more likely to reply due to the fact that he has already promised to do so.

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You have to take the trouble to put yourself in the other guy's shoes, and ask yourself why he wants you to stay in touch.

He clearly said that you did an excellent job on the project. If he immediately followed up by saying that he wants you to stay in touch, it means that he is a prospective employer with a strong interest in hiring you? The follow up question is what information would a prospective employer with a strong interest in you want to have from you?

  1. Are you still on track to graduate by the expected date? So let him know how many months you have to go before you graduate, and that your expected graduation date still holds.

  2. Are you looking for a part-time or summer job? He might help you with that, and possibly help himself in the process if he can get his hands on you. If you are looking, let him know because it might be very relevant to him.

  3. Are you going through the campus interview process? If you are doing so, you should let him know that because he might have something in store for you.

  4. If you are about to graduate and you are still looking for a job, you should let him know that because you are letting him know that you are available.

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