step 5 – Reach out: Capitalize on your network & beyond
“When I look up at the night sky and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe … the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up — many people feel small, because they’re small, the Universe is big — but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.” Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Transcendence of the Universe.
Hoi (Swiss-German ‘hello’) HonuGuavers – Networking may sound overrated. However, we would like to take it beyond the conventional concept, and help you envision the practical applications of it. The interconnectivity and social empowerment that networking may bring, will certainly benefit any segment of your career.
Valentina found her current job by participating at a local film screening and panel discussion on her area of interest “Misrepresentation of Women in Media.” On multiple occasions, she used the same strategy to meet key individuals and people of influence within her field of “Gender Policy,” and succeeded in bonding with them on a personal level while at the same time finding her ideal job!
Key steps to boost your chances of securing an interview and subsequently, a job:
- Go to the website/e-mail notice where you found out about the event and read about the background from each one of the panelist, conference organizers and participants. Look at their photos as well in order to quickly recognize their faces once you reach the event.
- Prepare a write-up about the topic. A bullet point format would do – or in the least, just be well-informed about the topic.
- Craft three questions to which you would like to learn the answers.
- Prepare a smart elevator pitch about yourself, include your experiences and interests to sound professional and eloquent.
- Arrive earlier than expected to the event. This simple practice has its perks, trust us! Most panelist need to do a preliminary run of their presentations and will most likely arrive earlier than the audience to do so. Therefore, when you arrive early, it makes sense to introduce yourself and just listen attentively to what the panelist are discussing. You can take a passive stance at this point. Take it all in and make mental or physical notes on what you heard.
- Ask lots of questions about the path they took to get to where they are today:
- Educational background
- How did you transition from industry/company x to industry/company x
- I heard that you are working on x project, may I offer you my support and volunteer to assist you on x areas of the project ? For instance, I would be happy to do research on x, serve as logistical support, or simply shadow a day or two of your life to learn from the best, YOU 😉 (Of course, only if appropriate and applicable)
- Would you mind if I get your contact information to continue our conversation over a cup of coffee next time you are free or in town?
- Have business cards ready to hand out – (Yes, order cards online even if you are unemployed) You can always make simple cards with your name, your professional identity and profession and your contact information. Brittany used visaprint.com with basic information, photo, and her university’s logo. (Also after Brittany’s time in Japan, she found it is often best to hand your card with two hands as this is the respectful way to hand someone your card in many countries and the others wont mind if you do it this way either. And often it is best to start the conversation by exchanging cards upfront).
- Last but not least – FOLLOW UP – Do so right away before you forget, either the day after the event or the day after your interaction with the said person. The follow up e-mail/call should be as targeted as possible. Also be sure to send an add request on LinkedIn with a request message. Check out the 5 steps for e-mailing busy people – (This post includes a sample letter/e-mail).
Another successful strategy to reach busy people is to call and/or e-mail the person and mention that you are doing a personal or university project on people that hold a position that you aspire to have in the future. Ask if you could take 15 minutes of their time to discuss three specific questions you have. Look at step 3 for inspiration on how to do a cold call or e-mail someone you admire for the first time. Again, it does not hurt to offer to volunteer your time after the conversation and to ask if they happen to have a position available at the moment.
Look for headhunters/recruiters/placement agencies (though, be careful as some charge placement fees from your first few paychecks) – and be clear about your objectives. Ask up-front if this consultation would incur any charges and try to negotiate a discount or ask if they would kindly provide you with informal tips for the specific geography or industry you are after (We have meet incredibly generous individuals this way!)
Key links mentioned in the video
MeetUp: To find and meet people in your local community who share your interests
Internations: The leading network & guide for expats in 390 cities worldwide. Connect with fellow expatriates at top events and receive tips & advice on expat life.
Ciao bellas e bellos. We hope this was helpful – Merci und auf wiedersehen!