Steps to broaden your network

Steps to broaden your network

5 steps for young professionals to broaden your network

“It’s about who you know”. Too often many graduates make the mistake of attaching their chance of success solely to their intelligence and hard skills. In reality, it’s more complex than that. Yes, hard skills, creativity, and intelligence are all crucial for a technical interview as well as on the job. But to get your foot in the door, especially during tough times, one needs to master the art of networking. At the end of the day, it’s the people that count because you work with them and for them.

An essential part of networking is knowing the most effective way to present yourself to new contacts and connections. You have limited time within networking events and interviews to be heard and to capture the attention of your listener.

To effectively build your network, consider these 5 important steps to broaden your network:

1. Develop a pitch

The first of the steps to broaden your network is knowing how to sell yourself and having a short, personally crafted pitch will go a long way. Here are a few more reasons your pitch is so important.

An elevator pitch is a short statement or summary of your experience, background and career goals. The term comes from the idea that a person should be able to deliver the entire pitch within the time frame of a trip on an elevator, therefore, it should only take between 30 seconds and 2 minutes to give. Ultimately, your elevator pitch is used to sell yourself, your skills, your unique selling proposition, and your career goals. This short statement should answer the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What skills do you have?
  • Why are you different?
  • Where do you want to take your career?

To effectively prepare your elevator pitch, write on your notebook 10 most fascinating pieces of information about yourself. Be as spontaneous and honest as possible. Then review the list and fill in the details. Finally, compile down to 5 items for your list. Don’t generalize. It’s not good to say “I’m good at organizing”. It’s more appealing to say “I’ve been in charge of events X, Y, Z and generated an X number of attendants.”

Since it’s been advised not to take the elevator during these times, you can send your pitch under the form of email to potential employers or make a Zoom informational interview to introduce yourself. Make the first impression count!

Elevator pitch along with a well crafted resume are the first impression that potential employers count on to see how you are as a person and a potential employee.

2. Define target company or industry

Create a list of at least 20 companies in the field you’re looking to break in.

For each company you intend to apply for, do a thorough research on the company of interest and jot down points that summarize the service or product(s) they offer, their culture, their recent achievement in the industry, their competitors, their projected growth.

One approach that is effective in getting to know a company more intimately is to get an informational interview with a contact within that company. To find out more about how you can get an informational interview, please read on.

3. Identify individual to contact given purpose of networking

Whether you are an extrovert or introvert, you can benefit from cold outreach to expand your networking circle. Cold outreach via cold emailing is when you reach out to someone you have no connection with. This can be intimidating since the stakes are high. The goal of cold outreach is to get a company interested in you as a potential hire as well as find out more information about the company.

Let’s go over some steps you can take for your next cold outreach:

The first thing you need to do for cold outreach is to decide who is the best person to outreach. Whenever you find a company that is interesting to you or seems like it would be a good fit, use Google, LinkedIn, the company’s About Page, etc to find someone that either is a hiring manager or that you have a connection with. Here are some quick instructions for finding people who work for a specific company on LinkedIn.

First, search for the company name. When it comes up, you’ll have the option to “See all [number] employees on LinkedIn”

When you click on this link, you’ll see everyone on LinkedIn who has listed this company as their employer. Once you are on this page, you can filter the results based on a number of factors like location, job titles.

Second, you want to target the best 1-2 employees from that company, based on any one of the below criteria:

  • Similar to you already: Perhaps you’re from the same university but you never met? Perhaps you find out from  their LinkedIn that you’d be great friends because you care about the same topics (based on their profile) anyway?
  • Senior-level: Think: Who has been in the industry for a while, in this area, and might know a lot of other people who are hiring?
  • Seem open to chatting: You can take a quick scan of a LinkedIn profile and find out two things quickly: 1) Do they check this at all? And 2) Do they seem invested in using it to meet new people too?

Once you have targeted whom to reach out to, it’s time to write the email.

4. Write the Email

Once you’ve identified which person or people you want to reach out to and have their email address in hand, it’s time to craft your email.

Make sure your email follows these key rules:

  • It’s brief
  • Has been personalized
  • It’s targeted
  • Friendly tone
  • It’s grammar-errors free
  • It has a call to action
Here’s how to structure your email:

Have a creative subject line (a hook) increases the chances of having your email opened.

Start with a short introduction of yourself and the purpose for writing the email.

This is where you can insert your elevator pitch to sound more authentic in presenting yourself

Think: Why should they keep reading?

Highlight why you like the company so much and why you chose this person to email.

Passion and enthusiasm are great ways to make a positive first impression.

Demonstrate that this email is personalized for this person. Do your research and find out a few things about this person that you can mention to show that you really want to talk to them.

Dive into a brief bio on yourself; the body of your email should give more specifics on your background and why you would be a good fit for the role.

Keep the whole thing short, don’t go over 3-4 lines. Feel free to attach your resume or link to your portfolio if you have one.

Mention a specific call to action in the form of a question. Something that prompts a “yes” or a “no” to increase chances of responsiveness – do you want them to grab coffee with you (if they’re local) or hop on a call with you? Do you want them to review your portfolio and share insight?

End with a Thank You so that you show that you respect their time in reading your email. Show you are a person who is genuinely grateful for the other person’s time and energy.

5. Track your efforts and follow up

The final of the steps to broaden your network is to make sure to keep track of who you sent a cold outreach email to and when. Keep a Google Sheet or something that works for you – perhaps even set up reminders for yourself one week after you send out an email.

The truth is, even if you sent one email – the person may need a reminder email simply so that your email can go back to the top of an inbox, and get attention once more. If folks are busy, it is understandable that their inboxes are full and that they can’t pay attention to everything all the time!

After one week has gone by, make sure to send a follow up email checking in.

Networking is a soft skill that all candidates need to master in order to get their foot in the door of their dream job. Companies, just like people, trust someone they know or feel like they know. Leverage your skills and personality, your quirks and passions to show your uniqueness and your potential value contribution to the company you are interested in. Investing in networking is your best bet of getting that first job. Now go and take action and follow the steps to broaden your network!

At Syzygy Careers, we are passionate about careers. Contact us today more information. Follow us on Linkedin and Youtube.

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