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Today, we continue with step 2 in a series on networking that Cassie Thompson, a practicum student in Career and Professional Development, is sharing with us. Please find step 1 here. Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us, Cassie.
Okay, you’ve made your list and selected your ten people. Now what to do with that list?
One by one, ask them if you can take them to coffee or lunch. Let them know you are doing some information gathering as you look for a future career, and that you are interested in their industry or type of position and would like to ask them some questions, and would they be willing to meet. Depending on where you are in school, you can take your time with this, or maybe go a little more rapidly. If it is spring semester of your senior year, I would try and book coffees and lunches all spring break!
I need to mention that you will be paying for these coffees and lunches. At least, you will offer to pay. Some people will end up paying for you or splitting, but you must always offer. Yes, I know you are in college and cash may be tight, but consider this an investment in your future. As these people are willing to give up their time to talk with you, it is only right to show your gratitude by offering to pay!
Now here is where most people go, “But my roommate’s dad has met me once and he won’t remember me!” or “Why would my sister’s best friend want to help me?” There are a couple of reasons why they will want to help you. First, people love to talk about themselves. Seriously, don’t you love to talk about yourself? People like helping others and giving advice, so they will most likely want to help you out.
Second, many companies now have referral programs for new hires. This means that if you meet with your roommate’s dad and he knows there is an entry-level position open at his company that you’d be perfect for, he can refer you and get a bonus. It is in his best interest to meet with you. Lastly, the worst that can happen is the person says no. This is one door that has closed, but that’s why you have nine more! But until you ask, you will never know what path will be the one that leads to employment.
So time to start making some phone calls and writing some emails. Check back next week to see what to talk about over coffee!