Follow these tips to get the most out of networking opportunities.
Be sure to create a positive impression.
Build rapport – people help people they like!
Before you contact people, make sure you are well briefed about what they do and about their company. (Look them up on LinkedIn/ Twitter/ Google).
Email, write or call – however you feel most comfortable.
Explain who put you in touch, why you took an interest in them and what they do, and say that you would love to buy them a coffee and have a chat to find out more. DON’T ask them to help you get a job.
It is a good idea to contact people a few days before, just to say you’re looking forward to meeting them and re-confirm the date, time and venue.
Prepare some good questions to ask – It can help calm your nerves. See Networking Questions to get You Started for some ideas.
Go equipped with your CV and any other supporting material such as business cards or portfolio; leave something to remind them about you.
Take an interest; just chat, ask lots of questions and listen – remember people like to talk about themselves and what they do.
Expand your network – see if they can suggest another couple of people you could talk to.
Ask if you can use their name for recommendation – people generally respond positively to business referrals from friends or colleagues.
Only if it is appropriate, request that they pass on your details to colleagues, e.g. CV or business cards.
Even if they can’t help, it is worth asking for any advice – organisations to consider, websites to look at, courses to attend etc.
ALWAYS send a thank you (email) after a meeting. Even after a brief conversation at a networking event, follow up with an email or tweet.
If you are asked to supply a reference/portfolio or anything else, be sure to do it promptly.
Aim to stay in touch as a matter of courtesy, but also because networking is an ongoing process and will prove useful throughout your career.
Keep records of the people you meet: contact details, work information, interests and any significant points from your conversations – so you know how to approach them again in the future.
Find Out More
Getting A Job In Today’s Market – HBR IdeaCast 291
Good advice for novice networkers!
Podcast from the Harvard Business Review (approx. 17 minutes) – Online, App or iTunes
Professional Networking Bodies
BNI – Networking for all businesses
– Organises regional business events
Find Networking Events
Upcoming events, news & tips
Search the Internet for your particular profession/industry – here are a few to get you started:
D&AD Creative – Design, Illustration & Advertising events for networking and showcasing talent
Next Generation Insurance Network (NGIN)
Networking events & meet ups for those in insurance & those starting out in the industry
Please let us know if you have any more recommendations. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org