Instead of working the room, you’ve gotta work that Zoom.
We get it. But just because you can’t exactly grab coffee anymore doesn’t mean you have an excuse to stop networking. Sorry.
Between 70% and 80% of jobs are filled through networking. And there’s this: You don’t have to wear real pants while you do it.
Great. Here are some ways to get started:
Make a spreadsheet. Before you say, “Thank U, Next,” hear us out. Try organizing your professional contacts in a spreadsheet categorized by name, email, title, and date last connected on. You can start one now, or if you already have a similar system, refer to it while following up and log any status notes there.
Set goals. Commit to reaching out to a certain number of people every week. Start with one. Graduate to two. And so on. You’re doing great already.
Phone a friend. Ask a former colleague or classmate to intro you to a new connection. Pro tip: Always respond to the email first and move your connector to Bcc. Sometimes people say, “Oh, I was waiting for the other person to respond.” That’s not how this works. When you ask to get set up, you’ve gotta make the first move.
Be specific. When reaching out to a connection, avoid general (and generic) phrases like “Can I pick your brain?” Instead say something specific like “I see you have experience making an industry switch. I’m in the middle of considering one, and I have some questions about why you decided to move from marketing to PR. Can I speak to you for 15 minutes at your convenience?”
Sell yourself. When you’re cold-emailing someone or messaging them on LinkedIn, make sure you have a short paragraph (key word: short) about yourself prepped in advance. That way your new connection can get a sense of who you are, what you have in common, and why you’re getting in touch.
Always follow up with an email in the next 48 hours. It should be under 100 words and have a personal touch, so try mentioning something you discussed together. This is not a cover letter. It’s a quick note that basically says “Hey, thanks. K, bye for now.”
Networking is a lot like dating. Time-consuming and nerve-wracking. Especially during a global pandemic when people aren’t exactly shaking hands. But it will help you land a job, and it’s something you can tackle safely from your couch.
Skimm'd by Becky Murray and Avery Carpenter Forrey
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