On Wednesday night, BreakingBayStreet.com was invited to be a guest speaker and present to the Graduate Management Consulting Association (“GMCA”) at the University of Toronto. The topic of our presentation was how to build a fierce cover letter and the importance of translating the skills you have into the skills of the job you are applying to. We also touched briefly on the importance of networking. Here we continue that discussion and present the “6 Keys to Coffee Shop Networking Success”.
Every industry has its own bubble and within that bubble lies a unique language, set of rules and values. In order to build a successful cover letter or resume you NEED to understand the language of the bubble. As you build your cover letter and resume, it is vital that everything written in these documents directly relates to the specific skills that people in the industry care about. If you are able to translate your skills adequately you will be successful in building an awesome cover letter and resume.
At the end of the presentation our presenter spoke to the group about the importance of networking. As mentioned, in my previous blog post, networking is one of the most important things anyone can do to differentiate themselves. Passionately, Josh delivered to the crowd a recipe for how to succeed at coffee shop meeting with an industry professional.
Successful networking is different than studying. Successful networking is how you get referrals, find the hidden job market and build your personal brand. I have listed the steps below that will make anyone more successful in networking. This is the exact approach our founders use to make a lasting impression when they meet someone.
Anyone who has a question about cover letters, networking or resumes, if you ask your question in the comment section below one of our founders will reply to you.
One last thing and I cannot stress this enough, you need to practice these steps to be successful. Start practicing for your coffee meetings just like you would for an interview.
The Six Keys to Success
- Articulate Your Objectives
- Go beyond high level career goals and outline your specific objectives for this meeting
- Remember that in nearly all cases, getting a job offer is not a reasonable objective
- Appropriate objectives include:
- Learning more about the organization and what they look for when recruiting
- Learning about a specific project or initiative the person worked on
- Obtaining a referral to another person of interest
- Present Yourself With Confidence
- Remind the person of your educational background and any relevant job experience
- Follow with a high level overview of your career objectives
- Talk about yourself with confidence and avoid any self-criticism or doubts
- If you don’t believe in yourself then why should the person sitting across from you???
- Prevent Autopilot Responses
- Ask non-standard questions in order to prevent the person from giving the same answer they have given at every other networking event they’ve ever been to
- Generic questions lead to generic answers and prevent you from leaving a lasting impression
- Establish a Personal Connection
- To make a lasting connection you need to have at least one line of discussion that is informal and not related to work or school
- You can do this by either bringing up a personal interest or hobby or by fishing for information from the person you’re meeting with
- Burn it Out Before it Fades Away
- It’s hard to have a 2 hour discussion with someone you’ve never met before
- If you’re 95% through a meeting you agreed would be 30 minutes long and things are going great, slowly wind the conversation down
- Ending on a high note will help the person leave with positive opinion of you
- Tell Them You Will Follow Up
- As things are wrapping up, thank them for your time, and tell them how you will follow up with them
- Be specific regarding how and when you will contact them and what you intend to send them
Meet you at the top!