Recently, I received an email introduction from a prospective job candidate. With a quick review of our system, I realized I already knew the individual. Not really “knew”, but “knew” as in we were connected on several networking platforms and had exchanged at least one message months earlier.

Time invested in connecting without follow through is meaningless.

In a hasty move to connect and build networks during a job search, candidates don’t always use networking platforms as they should to maximize their efforts. They connect and move on to the next person. Connecting is just the start, though. For a moment, forget the time already spent finding people with whom to connect and consider how to better establish a rapport with those individuals once you’ve connected.

Comments and Likes. This is the simplest way to show a consistent presence and support a connection. Giving a quick thumb up or leaving a quick comment tells the person who posted the information you appreciate the information shared while helping the individual better focus on his/her audience. It encourages the person to post other similar or related material.

Caring and Sharing. If something you see resonates with you online, it’s likely it will also be of interest to your audience. By sharing, you expand the reach of the originator and inspire others to share what has influenced them. Over time, momentum builds and knowledge share increases. Everyone benefits.

Initiate and Communicate. Once you’ve connected with someone new, acknowledge the connection. A quick note goes a long way, and each platform makes it easy to send a message or email. Thank the person for connecting, offer support, and provide your preferred contact information. Quick and professional.

Search and Revisit. Consistency breeds success when it comes to your career. During an active job search, you should be continuously searching your networks. Identifying existing contacts and deliberately scheduling time to communicate (email, call, message, etc.), allows you to remain top of mind while demonstrating resiliency, drive, and determination. Update your contact on your activity – successes, completed projects, or recognition you’ve received – or congratulate the person on his/her own accolades.

Once you land a new gig, you must continue to engage and interact – perhaps not with the same ferocity or vigor – but in an on-going manner, nonetheless. Long term career success is predicated upon the relationship you build throughout your career, not just in your time of need. Using your tools effectively is the key to your success.

David Rose is Vice President of Recruiting with YELLOW DOG Recruiting. Follow David on Twitter @YELLOWDOG_01.