- ALWAYS ask you contact for 5 other people you should talk to – Most people are willing to share contacts if they feel their discussion has been valuable. Always be sure to ask. Keep track of who referred these contacts so you can follow-up to say thank you.
- ALWAYS say thank you – While it is true that most people enjoy talking about themselves, they do have other demands on their time besides talking to you. If they are gracious enough to share their time, always take the time to send a handwritten thank you note. It makes a very positive impression.
- Using Linked In – The true power of Linked In is not just who you are connect to but the broader network of who you contacts are connected to. If you have a target company, chances are good that you know someone with a connection there. Search by company to identify possible connections. Leverage the power of your connections by asking for an introduction to their contact at your prior company.
- Expand your network to take advantage of Linked In – Look for former classmates and former colleagues by searching by school or by company. Invite people to know to join you on Linked In so you can leverage their connections. Join groups for which you have an affiliation since that significantly broadens your network.
- It’s not all about you – Be genuinely interested in listening to other people talk about their company and their work. You will gain a great deal of valuable insights from these discussions. You definitely don’t want to do all the talking in these discussions. Have questions prepared in advance and show that you did your homework by researching the company in advance.
- Avoid making people feel used by not asking for a job and by finding ways you can help them. A reciprocal relationship feels like a win-win for both parties.