When you embark on the adventure of finding a new role, it’s an exciting time, full of possibilities and unexplored opportunities. However, it can also be a little scary! But when you are equipped with knowledge about negotiating the path ahead and are clear about your goals–and you have the right attitude–it can be a grand adventure. Leveraging your professional network is a key step in the early stages of finding your new role. However, it can be a little difficult to get started in the process. Here is one simple way to get your network involved in helping you find your next role.
Please keep in mind this isn’t advice about growing your network. This is advice about how to ask your network for help. The process involves simply scheduling coffee and having a productive conversation. Below is a handy template below that you can use to draft an email meeting request:
It has been awhile since we ___________. I am reconnecting with you as I was recently part of a significant downsizing at ________and I am now looking for my next full-time role. Would it be possible for me to buy you coffee? I would love to learn about your experiences at ______________ and hear any advice you can offer in my career search. I know your time is valuable. Thank you in advance for any time or advice you are willing to share.
What to Bring
When you go to your coffee meeting, keep in mind that it’s not just meeting for coffee. Of course it may turn out to be that, but you are hoping it will be much more. With this in mind, be early and be prepared. In three or four minutes you should be able to summarize your career journey, your major accomplishments, and what is next for your career along with the likely titles of your next role. The key things you want to bring are a copy of your resume, a brief summary of what you are really good at and the accomplishments that support your story. When you compose your written summary, keep it short and to the point: think bullet points.
You should also go to the meeting with some questions in mind. Make sure you do your due diligence about the person you’re meeting, their company and the roles in the company that may be a fit for you. This will give you a lot of background, and you can formulate more questions after learning the basics there. Some questions to start with include:
- What has been your experience at ________?
- Based on my my career path, what would be the best person/people for me to connect with at your company?
- Who else might you know that I should meet?
Whether the initial meeting was a smashing success or a bit awkward, it is important to follow up. Send a gracious thank-you email along with the electronic copy or your resume, your brief summary of what you are good at, your major accomplishments and the likely titles of your next role. Your follow up will remind them of everything you discussed at your meeting. Because, let’s face it–it might be hard to remember all of the impressive things you mentioned in conversation! Always, always, always remember, when asking others for help, be thinking “How can I make this super easy for this person to help me?”
It would be easy to write an entire book on career networking (and of course many people have done exactly this!) but we hope this small piece of advice will help play a role in helping you launch on your next grand adventure. Please take a look at the rest of the articles in the career building section of our Knowledge Center. We are hoping you will find more valuable advice there. Good luck on the road ahead!
Do you have any tried-and-true tips for asking your network for help? Let us know in the comments below!
Mark Whitman is the founder and CEO of TeamBuilder Search, a dynamic recruiting firm that specializes in digital marketing, digital transformation, and emerging technology. He is an energetic and fearless adventurer who loves working with other innovative, entrepreneurial-minded professionals. He also happens to be a Sport Jujitsu national champion who literally broke his face in competing for the gold medal in the world championship. To discuss your toughest hiring challenges with Mark, contact him here.