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How to (Actually) Network: Advice Meetings

In this blog, I’ll continue to tackle the ins and outs of networking. If you haven’t read my previous blogs about The Advantages of Networking and laying the groundwork for networking meetings, go ahead and do that now. 

So, you’ve made it to this point in your networking journey. You’ve compiled a shortlist of people to contact, and, hopefully, you’ve already reached out to set up a meeting. People are generally glad, even honored, to share advice.  How do you prepare? What should you expect?

At this point in your journey, you’ll be initiating advice meetings. These sorts of meetings are good to do always, and they are especially important if you are looking for a job, or thinking of switching careers or industries. They are what the name implies—you asking your networking contact for advice.  

Let’s go over how to prepare and what to expect before, during, and after the meeting.

Before:

  • Research the person you’re meeting with and the company they work for.
  • Practice your elevator pitch (i.e. about you, your experience, and your goals).
  • Write a list of specific questions to ask.
  • Bring your networking contacts list, target companies list, and your resume.

During:

  • Practice your communication skills—actively listen, be positive, and be confident.
  • State that you are only seeking advice, not a job offer.
  • Use your elevator pitch and ask your prepared questions.
  • Review and discuss your resume, asking for any comments.
  • Ask for referrals and any additional advice.
  • Confirm that you may use this person’s name for any future referrals.
  • Express your appreciation for the meeting.
  • Ask if you can stay in contact with them (typically every 30-60 days).
  • Ask if you can do anything for them in return.

After:

  • Send a thank-you note indicating what you did with the advice and information you were given.
  • Follow-up on anything you discussed.
  • Keep in contact with them, informing them of your activities and progress.

Advice networking meetings are not long. All of this can be done within 15-30 minutes, but the information you gain and connections you make will be invaluable. You should come out of these meetings with more names of people to contact, and you will repeat this process again. Eventually, these meetings will morph into research meetings, which we’ll discuss at a later date. And, somewhere along the line, all of these networking contacts will (hopefully) lead to a job.

At Don’t Dread Monday, we have a comprehensive job search program to support you in your networking journey. If you don’t want to wait for the next networking blog, all of the information I’ve discussed is in our OI Solutions Portal, which is a part of our job search program. Contact us via our website or call 800.680.7768 for any questions you may have.

Until next time.

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