Networking is one of the best methods to supplement your internship or job search. If you do it right, you will increase your chances of landing the job of your dreams, and expand your group of friends along the way. “The best way to get a job now is the same as in the ’70s and the ’80s—word of mouth,” explains Adam Cobb, professor of management at The Wharton School. So, here is a how-to guide and some tips to get you started:
What is Your Objective?
Be clear about what you hope to gain from each interaction, whether it be your first LinkedIn request, or face-to-face meeting. Researching the industry you are interested in, and clarifying your career goals and values will be beneficial as you start building your network. Here are more detailed guidelines on networking.
Make a Contact List
These are your family, friends, former employers, professors, TAs, classmates, coaches, etc. If you are finding it difficult to get the list going, begin by reconnecting with old friends on Facebook. Contact the people on your list, and let them know what you're looking for, and how you're hoping they can help you. Remember that you are not asking for an internship or job! You are asking for their guidance and suggestions. You will get more responses if you are sincere and view each communication as a way to build a relationship, rather than as a transaction.
Finding New Contacts
Create a Networking-Management System
Whether you prefer Excel or Evernote (a software application that helps you remember tasks) staying organized ensures you avoid mistakes like sending a follow-up email twice, or worse, not sending one at all.
Make the Appointment
While meeting in person is best, a phone conversation is a great start. When initiating contact, make sure you introduce yourself professionally and succinctly.
Say Thank You
Acknowledge the time, guidance and suggestions your contact shared with you.
Send periodic, short-and-sweet updates, a snail mail holiday card, or articles that they may find interesting with a personal note attached. These quick exchanges show that you are in it to build the relationship (perhaps, one of your contacts will become a mentor), not to use them for their expertise and connections.
For Career Exploration Inquiries
For Job Search Inquiries
For Graduate School Inquiries
Before sending any letter, make sure it includes:
If you are sending the request via e-mail, we recommend using “Dear First Name Last Name” (i.e.: Dear Ray Garcia,)
If you are sending the request via LinkedIn, keep in mind that you have 200 character limit. Your message should introduce yourself, indicate why you are writing, and kindly request some time to chat. Short and sweet is the key here!
If you are reaching out to Dartmouth alumni, we recommend that you utilize their preferred mode of contact. We recommend that you do not include a resume in the first correspondence. If they are interested in reviewing your resume, they'll ask.
If you are cold calling, don't forget to include how you found their contact information.
Here are some sample questions to ask and sample of email outreach when writing a networking letter.
Questions? Make an appointment with us via Handshake; we can help you craft the right networking letter.