There are proven ways to effectively make professional connections, both online and in person. The good thing about the in-person part? It gets you comfortable with one-on-one communication, which will come in handy when it comes time to interview. To help you navigate, we have collected helpful information on how to connect.
Initial Outreach to New Contacts
When approaching new contacts, it is important to be respectful of their time.
- Start with email. Since most professionals are quite busy, email is the preferred mode for initial contact in most cases.
- Be clear. Always indicate how you obtained the individual’s information. Mention your interest in learning about their profession or organization. In your subject, include how you were referred. In the body, ask if they have time to speak to you by email, phone or in person.
- Lend context. Provide a brief overview of your background so that a new contact can best tailor their advice. Do not attach your resume unless you are asked for it.
- Manage phone contact. If phone contact is necessary, be prepared to leave a short voicemail. Even if you are seeking a job or internship, emphasize a desire for advice.
- Arrange an in-person meeting. See if you can meet at the contact's place of employment, so you can do on-the-ground research.
Diversify your outreach approach.
From one-on-one informational interviews to large events, there are many ways to grow your network. Using one or more of these techniques can power you with insight. It may feel strange initially — or maybe you're a natural — but the more you network, the easier it gets.