Networking 101: Coffee With a Stranger



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I was never a fan of networking because it seemed so fake to me. You're talking to someone, for the sole purpose of getting something from them and they know it. However, if you ask me now, "networking" is my first word of advice to anyone looking for a job. If you don't like networking, you're probably doing it wrong because it if you're doing it right, you will see fruit from it. 

Networking is a sport and LinkedIn is the playbook. I cannot stress how valuable of a tool LinkedIn is. LinkedIn gives you direct access to your future co-workers, team members, human resources, managers, CEO etc. Direct access! Like you can literally slide in their dm's.

Also in today's job market, LinkedIn gives you credibility. True story, as I was preparing to leave an employer, my manager (a Millennial) told me to find my replacement, and she said "...and I'm not interviewing anyone that doesn't have a LinkedIn." It seems like LinkedIn is becoming the official Playa's card when it comes to solidifying your career so let's make sure we're not missing out on that dream job. 

"If you stay ready you don't have to get ready."- Kia N. Sutton

So here are 8 plays you need to make to get you closer to that dream job.

1. If you haven't done so, make sure your profile is on point. This is your resume before people even see your resume. Try to go through all the fields and optimize them to get your profile to 100% by LinkedIn standards. Be sure to upload a current resume and make sure you have a professional photo, not a selfie. 

2. Be active. The algorithms on LinkedIn are just like any other social media platform. The more active you are, the more friends you make, the more people will see you. The beauty of LinkedIn is that you can be 'very active' with minimal effort. Just liking and sharing posts can easily get you to the top of a feed. 

3. If you see a job you want, before you apply, find your future co-worker or manager on LinkedIn and introduce yourself. I use something like "Hi I'm Crystal, I saw that [your organization] had an Associate Attorney position open. Before I applied, I wanted to find out more about what an ideal candidate for this position would look like or what are you looking for in ideal team member." Keep it short and sweet. Then ask if you can meet them for coffee. 

4. Cold call. If you don't see a job posted but you have an ideal place where you would like to work. Reach out to somewhere there, preferably a lateral peer, and ask them to meet for coffee. 

5. Find people in the industry, that you have something in common with i.e. alma matter, volunteer work and ask if you can meet them for coffee. Even though there may not be a position where they are, there is a good chance they have friends and colleagues in the industry and they know someone who may be hiring 

6. Always take a copy of your resume and business cards when you meet for coffee. Don't offer the resume but keep it on hand in case you are asked for it. Don't leave without exchanging business cards. Treat your resume like money and your business cards like candy. 

7. Follow up and stay in touch. You have to court someone if you want them to be bae. Stay in your connect's life by liking a post on LinkedIn or congratulating them on an update. If they are quiet on social media, you can reach out about once a quarter just to check in with some industry-related news or even a more personal touch if you guys had that connection. 

8. Of course, while you're on LinkedIn don't forget to search and apply for jobs there. 

If you can commit to a goal of coffee with a stranger once a week. You will see results. Every week you are meeting someone in your career field and your network is increasing exponentially. Do you think this is something you can commit to? If not every week what about 1-2 times a month?

Remember, to be early is on time and to be on time is LATE! Always offer to pay for coffee and thank your guest for their time. 

Don't forget to share this post with someone who could benefit from it. 


Always secure the bag, 


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