Hiatt’s networking requirements
Before you can join Hiatt's LinkedIn group, search alumni on CAN, or submit a Wisdom Wanted ad, you must:
1. Read, sign and return Hiatt's social responsiblity and integrity contract.
2. Watch this online workshop and answer the quiz correctly.
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Develop a Communication Strategy
Clear, confident communication is key to a successful networking interaction. Whether you’re communicating with someone in-person, on the phone, or online – and whether you’re meeting them for the first time or the fiftieth – you should be able to comfortably articulate your values, skills, interests and goals for the conversation.
Introducing Yourself: The Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch or elevator speech is a short summary used to quickly and simply introduce yourself and highlight your unique skills and qualifications. The name comes from the notion that the speech should be delivered in the time it takes to ride an elevator, usually 20 to 60 seconds. It can be a great way to start a conversation, especially with someone with whom you are unfamiliar. You’ll want to practice yours so it is ready to go when needed.
Reaching Out via Email/Phone
The most common way to make the first connection with a networking contact is in writing, either via email or brief letter. In some circumstances, as with a family friend or former employer, a phone call is appropriate. You’ll want to address the same things you would in writing. Download Hiatt's outreach template (.doc) to begin crafting your introduction, either via phone or in writing.
In both cases, your initial contact should set the stage for future conversations. You will want to make sure you address the following:
Who You Are
- Provide a brief introduction of yourself
- Mention the fact that you are a Brandeis student
- For written correspondence, enclose a resume so the person knows your background
Why This Contact
- Indicate why you are writing to this individual in particular
- Briefly state your interests or experiences in the person’s field, organization, or location
What You Want
- Request more information and advice (do not ask for an internship or job)
- Set expectations - you are initially asking for roughly 15-30 minutes of their time
- Include how and when you will contact this person again
After sending your initial message, be sure to follow up. Usually this involves a phone call to set up a phone appointment or an in-person meeting. Never expect the person to phone you.
What to say - Once You Connect
- Be polite! Aside from the expected common courtesy, you never know who this person knows or what type of resource they may be for you in the future. Dress professionally for your meeting as a sign of respect. Consider each person you talk with part of an ever-expanding network of contacts, and make a good impression in the hopes that the person will welcome you into their network as well.
- Really listen to what the person tells you. Although you are actually in charge of the interview, you should be prepared to talk half of the time and listen the other half. If the person wishes to talk more, you will know that immediately. Just be prepared with things to talk about and have solid questions.
- Be prepared to talk about your interests and experiences – your contact will surely ask about them.
- Take notes. While it is important to maintain eye contact during in-person meetings, taking notes also demonstrates interest in what the person is saying. Make sure you write the person's name and the date on your notes so that you can refer back to them, either for your own purposes or when having a follow-up conversation with that contact.
- Keep the conversation relatively short. Whether you are talking by phone or in person, respect that the other person has many demands on his/her time. If they are available or wish to give you more time than you have requested, they will let you know. Be aware of the time that has passed and when there is a break in the conversation near the end of the time you requested, thank the person and politely end the conversation. If you are meeting in person, ask the person for a business card so that you can send a thank you note.