No – the aim of a network meeting is not to sell yourself or to get a job. It is an opportunity to explore, to be curious, and to collect information. Once you receive information from one person you often gain new information, which you can use later. It is important that the person you are meeting with is completely aware of your aim.
Here are some ideas for your aim:
- To gain knowledge about the area of business your contact person works within
- To gain knowledge about the organization you contact person work in
- To receive sparring on which assignments your profile can solve
- To receive career/jo searching advice within an area of business or organization
If you take this approach you will experience greater willingness from people to meet with you - contra if you had asked them to meet, in anticipation of speaking about future job opportunities in the organization.
How should you meet with…
You should begin with mapping out your network, to gain an overview of which people you know. This is a good place to begin networking with people you already know. It is also great to start with a good experience. Look around in your close network – e.g. friends, fellow students, professors, colleagues from your student jobs, internships or previous jobs, soccer friends, boy- or girlfriend, etc.
Look and decide who could be interesting to speak to. Is there somebody who works at an organization you find interesting? Or is there somebody who has studied the same as you and has a job? Or is there somebody who is good a looking outside the box and has good ideas? The opportunities for how you use your network are endless.
What should you ask about?
The best advice is to be curious. It is therefore very wisely of you to ask questions and give them time to answer. This should also hopefully ease the weight off your shoulders – so you don’t feel the pressure of selling yourself. But you probably think – what should I ask? You should start thinking of wh-questions, which is a way of avoiding yes and no answers. When you prepare your questions, think about what you can ask about that leads into your field of knowledge. You are welcome to bring a list, so you don’t have to remember all of them throughout the meeting. Maybe questions appear during the conversation.
Here are some examples of questions within the 4 different aims:
You can possibly end your conversation by asking if they know anyone who could be relevant for you to talk with – this is a lead to a further journey of discovery.
Remember good questions are those, which you are interested in hearing the answer to.
How do you get in contact?
There is not a set guideline of how to get in contact, but we can guide you – especially with you strive to get in touch with people you don’t know.
Make sure to keep the first e-mail short and sweet. Express your purpose with the inquiry.
I am writing to you because you/ your company caught my eye through my network/my research. My motivation to contact you is that I’m currently a student who is thinking of my future pathway when I have finished my studies. I’m very interested to know more about, how it is to work as a … (or different aim).
I was wondering if you would be interested in having a quick meeting with me in the near future.
If you don’t get a reply you can write a follow-up e-mail. It is not necessarily an indicator of lack of interest by the opposite party. It is often an indicator of them being busy and that your e-mail has been forgotten. Follow up with a phone call or another email.
What should you do afterward?
It is a good idea to write an e-mail stating your appreciation after the meeting. This is also an opportunity for you to ask if it is okay for you to connect with them on LinkedIn, if you are not already. You could also connect with them on LinkedIn and state in the request your appreciation of taking the time for a meeting.
Or maybe you would like to send a written application. Receive more tips here.
In the follow-up e-mail, you could also ask If they have recommendations for who to contact if you forgot to ask this during the meeting.
Do you need help?
You are more than welcome to contact the career counselors, where we will help you to begin the process of the unsolicited job application.