“You have a 75% higher chance of being hired if it’s through a referral.”
Stacey Lane, an experienced career coach, spoke about how to better network and interact with professionals at the ninth annual Get Connected.
Rely on your network
Stacey suggests that you build relationships at every single part of your career—beginning, middle, and end. The average person works about 13–14 jobs in their career. The goal is to create lasting connections and different communities for networking.
Stacey suggest following the four C’s of networking: curiosity, context, connection, and convenience.
Curiosity—Think of networking as simply asking for directions. Where should I look? Who should I talk to? What don’t I know that I need to? What insight do you have that I need? Be curious. When you talk to someone about their interests, it’s easier to keep the conversation going. Go into a meeting with questions and find a connection.
Context—When you reach out to a professional, give them context as to why you are contacting them. It should be research and information based. They might not have a position, but they do have information and advice.
Connection—Find a connection between your contact’s career path and yours. How can you apply their experiences to yourself? This will give you valuable insight into the field and what you need to do to accomplish your goals.
Convenience—Find time that works for them. If you email a professional asking for a meeting and they don’t respond, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to meet you. It might be a busy time for them at work and responding to your email isn’t their first priority.
Give them a week or two before you send a follow-up email. Ask if there is a better time that works for them. Remember, you are asking them to take time out of their day to meet with you, so make it convenient for them.
Remember, just ask questions
Asking questions helps start a conversation about common interests. This gets away from the “transactional” interview and makes things more comfortable while still helping you learn about their career and how they got to their position.
- How did you start your business?
- What’s the best part of your job?
- What do you dislike about the industry you are in?
Stay away from yes or no questions, and focus on asking more open-ended questions. This will keep the conversation going.
If you want to learn more strategies on how to successfully pivot your career through networking, contact Linda Favero in Portland to schedule an appointment at email@example.com or 505-412-3701.
Eugene-campus students can contact the Career Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-346-3235.