With information brought to you via our Beyond B-School subscription service, Nathan Perez walks you through the five simple steps that make up proper job search networking meetings. Perez also demonstrates the 20-minute networking meeting process with examples.
- The Great First Impression
- The Great Overview
- The Great Discussion
- The Great Ending
- The Great Follow-Up
Watch Nathan’s video presentation.
The Five Steps:
Step #1: The Great First Impression
Remember you never get a second chance at the first impression. This step is critical because it sets the tone of your entire meeting. And though brief compared to the other steps, it’s actually comprised of a few different things:
- On time arrival: It is important to not arrive late or early
- Express your gratitude for the meeting: You may already say ‘Thank you’ when you set up the meeting, but it is important to say it again during the meeting. Remember, ‘Time is a gift’ and your contact is giving you the gift.
- Highlight your mutual connections: We all like knowing that we have other people in common. It increases the trust factor.
- Setting an agenda: This one is particularly important because it lets your contact know what to expect of your meeting. An agenda builds your professional image, not just of yourself but of your overall approach to job search and relationship building. It also shows that: you are prepared; considerate of the contact’s time; and unafraid to lead a meeting.
Quick Tip: As the person who requested the meeting, it’s your job to start the discussion. Don’t wait for your contact to start the discussion.
Step #2: The Great Overview
This is where you give the 60-second snapshot of your background to provide context for the rest of your discussion. Follow these elements that comprise the snapshot:
- Your major and what you like most about it
- Highlights of educational experiences
- Awards and achievements
- Professional experience and skills/strengths
- Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Step #3: The Great Discussion
Once you have given your snapshot of who you are as a professional, you are going to lead your contact to the discussion. This s where the bulk of your time is going to be spent. The great discussion comprises the 5 key questions:
Question 1-3: Thought Provoking
“Sally you earned a post-MBA certificate in strategy and leadership. Has that been valuable to you and would you suggest I pursue it at this stage of my career?” “You finished your MBA last year. What was the biggest job-search challenge? And if you could, how would you change your approach if you were to do it all again?”
Ask about a career change, a company change, an industry trend, the value of an MBA. Use thought-provoking questions that would earn you the kind of insight that is not available anywhere else
Question 4: Asking for more contact names
This is a major objective of any networking meeting. Remember, your contact said yes to you in the first place! Go ahead and ask! It is a networking meeting. People come prepared for these particular questions. Others have been in your shoes.
Here’s what to say:
“Sally, is there another SPHR contact that I could talk to about certification?” or “John, do you know someone else in marketing that I could talk to?”
Question 5: Reciprocity
“How can I help you?” This question creates a sense of professional relationship. It tells your contact that you understand that networking is a give and take. Asking this question, seeds trust and it helps create the opening to keep in touch with your contact. It tips the scale for more names. In sum, building reciprocity with this question can generate additional networking meetings; additional business contacts; more word of mouth about you; an evangelist; a consulting gig; A JOB! Let “How can I help you?” be the last question you ask!
Step #4: The Great Ending
Review any actions you and your contact agreed on. For example:
- Thanks for agreeing to introduce me to Julie. It will be great to sit down with her.
- I’ll send you an invitation to the Leadership Roundtable next month.
Thank them again:
- Thank you again for your time
Other things you can thank them for: Their Expertise; Their suggestions; Wisdom and Insight Perspective; Willingness to Help
Finally, wrap it up with a Handshake and a Goodbye.
Step #5: The Great Follow-Up
There are 2 kinds of follow-up:
- Immediate: (1) Take prompt action to follow-up within 24 hours (2) Who to follow up with: person just met; person who referred you
- Ongoing: To keep your network alive, you must stay in touch. And you do this with ongoing follow-up or networking maintenance. Rules of ongoing follow-up: Touch base quarterly with a few exceptions; Close contacts; Change of contact info; New degree or certification (About to graduate? Inform your contact to be top of mind)
Keep your network alive. Stay in touch!
Watch the video to see this in action!
Have questions? Make an appointment to visit with one of our career coaches in the Mays Career Management Center, 383 Wehner Bldg.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan is an award-winning author, executive search professional responsible for the “Where-and-How-To-Find qualified candidates” strategies for national search engagements and career consulting. He works with candidates themselves, helping them deconstruct and reconstruct entire career-histories and Resumes, and building candidates” online LinkedIn presence from a hiring perspective. He is a frequent speaker on Networking and Using LinkedIn to Bring the Job Hunt to You. Co-creator and co-author of the acclaimed and award-winning The 20-Minute Networking Meeting with Dr. Marcia Ballinger, Nathan combines job-search and networking in his career-coaching practice.