Everyone knows that when you network, you’ve got to make a great first impression, or your chances for a contact are shot. But while research confirms that first impressions matter, we hate to break it to you: a great first impression won’t instantly lead to an irreplaceable contact. Would you do a professional favor for someone you’ve only met once, briefly, even if you had a great five-minute chat? Probably not. That’s why follow up is crucial. Send an email or make a phone call after your first meeting, and plan to grab lunch or coffee. That way you’ll move past the first impression, and start working on a professional relationship that will pay dividends.

Invent a new you. Don’t. Just put your best foot forward.

Have you ever read a column on networking advice and thought, there’s one type of person these tips apply to…but they don’t really fit me? You’re not alone. But you should know there’s a fine line between being your best self and completely inventing a new personality—with a new wardrobe to match—when you network. Being yourself will not only lead to more authentic interactions, but you’ll make a better and more accurate impression. That’s not to say don’t put your best foot forward, but if you’re an introvert who hates advice like “Always introduce yourself first” or an early riser told to “Attend networking bar nights”—tweak that advice. Distill its true meaning (be confident and take advantage of opportunities, in the examples above) and then apply it so that it really works for you.