In a time where people are deeply entrenched in their personal bubbles, it’s more important now than ever to connect.
Networking is not about selling yourself to every person you meet, quite the opposite in fact.
It’s about listening to the experiences of others, asking thoughtful questions, and seeing whether you can connect your skills & passions to what that company/person needs.
Come off as a genuine person and get a genuine response in return.
Remember that Networking is written as a verb for a reason; it’s a muscle you build with practice rather than an innate trait. It’ll take some practice but soon you’ll be navigating this particular skill like a pro.
Most companies have some sort of presence on LinkedIn. If you already have a LinkedIn, search up a company on your list and see who might be the best to connect with, send a request and a note to 2–3 people and …
wait for their response!
Here’s a quick graphic to show what this looks like in practice:
Taking the New York Times as an example company
Make sure you check on your messages daily and respond promptly with this strategy. If people are taking the time to respond you do not ghost them.
Here are some example messages to get you started:
Hey [PERSON’S NAME]!
I’m planning on applying to a couple different positions at [COMPANY NAME] and had a couple of questions concerning company culture and work life balance.
Let me know if you’re available to talk!
Using this method you should expect to be able to schedule quick 10 minute phone calls or start an email chain to ask some quick questions. From here have a genuine conversation with them, meet them where they’re at, and ask follow up questions if needed. Make sure to paraphrase back to them your understanding of what they’re saying. Get a vibe for the company culture, what work looks like for employees during this pandemic and whether you’re honestly interested in spending precious time there. If all checks out, near the end of the conversation express your interest in applying based on your conversation and inquire whether the company has a referral system (or just straight up just ask if that person can refer you).
Ex. “ Based off of what I’m hearing I would really like to join [ COMPANY NAME ], is there any way you could refer me?”
By doing this before you apply you can learn valuable information to tweak your resume for that specific company culture. If you scored a referral congrats! You have a 40% greater chance of getting hired.
My success with this strategy was a 50–50 LinkedIn response and a 95% referral rate after a quick phone call. After around 100 messages sent, I ended up with a referral that landed me my current job
- Search up your school -
- Go to the alumni tab in the left menu
- Search up the companies in your list
Now you have a person with whom you have a shared experience and can tweak your initial contact note more personally!
Follow this up with a great note (example below) and prepare to understand what all those college brochures were talking about when they talked about their “strong alumni network”
— — — — — — — — — — — -
Hello [COOL ALUMNI NAME],
Hope this note finds you well. I was looking through alumni connections on Mount Holyoke and thought it would be nice to link up! I’m currently thinking of applying to [COMPANY NAME] and have a couple questions about company culture. Would it be alright if I asked you?
**Quick notes on this strategy: If you’re copying and pasting your message for multiple people, TRIPLE check the name you use. It’s happened to me more than once where I have forgotten to change the filler name. By the 100th message this will happen to you, forgive yourself for it, laugh a little and push on.
You got this.