You’re young, creative and ambitious. You have a strategic list of your dream companies, professional heroes and go-to industry news websites. What if we told you that there’s a way to put your (very impressive) strategic stalking skills away and actually connect with those you look up to? Yes! It’s this simple concept known as “taking advantage of your network.” Easier said than done? Have no fear, FindSpark is here to give you some basic steps, do’s and not-so do’s on reaching out to your network and getting someone to write an email intro for you.
Step One: The Pre-Game | Set yourself up for success
Eye on the prize: Set clear and specific goals for what you want out of these meetings. Do you want learn more about a position, get industry insights, or just get to know your heroes better? Whatever it is, the process will be easier (even fun!) if you know what you’re after.
Research, research, research: Whether you’re targeting a general industry or specific professionals, you need to do your homework. This will help you narrow down the best candidates for you and what you’re looking for. Find out what these people have been involved with in terms of jobs, projects and milestones. Read up on recent industry news to get an idea of what everyone in the field is talking about now.
Know who you know: Look into your network for people who might be able to connect you to your people of interest. Get an idea of how they are connected – did they go to school together, past co-workers, or did they collaborate on a project? Extra brownie points if it’s someone who’s previously offered to connect you with others!
YOMO*: Don’t wait until you’re sitting across from them to figure out what you want to talk to them about. Your conversation won’t flow naturally and they’ll likely be able to tell that you didn’t take this seriously.
Get all tribute on this: If your method to decide to choose on your coffee candidates is to pick random names out of a hat, you’re going to have a bad time.
More profesh than Tinder: We’ve all had our panel crushes. They’re driven, successful, charming, and good looking. However, taking them to coffee in hopes that you can “collaborate on a passion project” (shamelessly patting myself on the back for networking jokes) is not the way to go. Keep it to Google search stalking and risky LinkedIn profile visits like the rest of us.**
* You Only Meet Once
** Disclaimer: no, you can’t endorse them for having a nice face.
What do you think? Start a discussion in the comment section below!