Hiatt's networking requirementsBefore you can join Hiatt's LinkedIn group, search alumni on CAN, or submit a Wisdom Wanted ad, you must:
1. Read and electronically sign Hiatt's social responsibility and integrity contract.
2. Watch this brief video on networking and take the quiz.
Networking is the initiation, cultivation and management of productive professional relationships. If you’ve ever talked to a professor, chatted with a family friend, or made conversation with someone on a plane, then you’ve already networked!
1) Set Goals
Before you begin, identify why you want to network. For example:
- Explore options and potential career paths
- Elevate your application for a particular job or internship (did you know that 70% of people land their jobs through networking?!)
- Gather “insider” information about a particular company’s culture and/or hiring processes
- Expand your circle of professionals
- Improve interviewing skills through professional conversations
- Learn industry trends and professional vocabulary from practitioners
You should learn as much as you can about the industry, job function or employer of interest as well as the person with whom you will be speaking. Learn more about conducting industry, job and company research.
If you already know with whom you are meeting, be sure to visit the contact’s company website, search for the contact’s name online, and review the contact’s LinkedIn profile.
3) Find Contacts
Networking relationships may be casual or formal. Use this brainstorming worksheet to identify potential networking contacts in your circle.
LinkedIn is another efficient way to identify people of interest.
4) Develop Questions
Unlike a traditional interview, YOU will be asking the majority of the questions in a networking interaction. You should expect to have about 10-15 questions ready to ask for a half hour conversation. Check out these sample networking questions to get started.
An elevator pitch is a short summary to quickly and simply introduce yourself and highlight your unique skills and qualifications. It should take no more than 60 seconds. Use this tool to help structure your pitch.
Who Are You?
- Provide a brief introduction of yourself
- Mention the fact that you are a Brandeis student
- For written correspondence, you might attach a resume so the person knows your background
- 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 Do You Want?
- Request more specific 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
- It’s appropriate to send a polite follow-up email after 7-10 business days if you don’t hear back. Don’t take it personally. Even those with the best intentions can be busy.
Meeting In Person
- Be courteous. Arrive on time, or even early.
- Dress professionally as a sign of respect and to make a good impression.
- Ask for advice, not a job. Remember, you’re seeking expertise and wisdom, not a mass-distribution of your resume.
- Be prepared to talk about yourself. Your contact will surely ask about your experiences and interest.
- Really listen to what the person tells you.
- 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.
- Keep the conversation relatively short. Respect that the other person has many demands on his/her time. 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.
Opportunities to connect, both in person, and online are everywhere.
- Hiatt events
- University events
- Local area events
- Professional organizations
- Wisdom Wanted ads
Follow Up & Next Steps
1) Say Thanks
Immediately following your interaction, you should send a thank you note. This shows your contact that you are appreciative of their time.
2) Process the Conversation
Make note of any impressions you have from the conversation. Ask yourself:
What did I learn (both positive and negative)?
What more might I need to know?
What are my next steps?
3) Stay in Touch
You’ll want to stay in touch with others as these relationships may lead to future job or internship referrals, letters of recommendation, and/or additional contacts.
In most cases, it is important to keep your contacts informed. A simple email to check-in or update contacts is appropriate. Networking contacts - especially Brandeis alumni - are often sincerely interested in helping and are curious about what ultimately happens in your career and academic adventures.
4) Recognize When to Let Go
Not all networking relationships will endure. This is perfectly normal and expected. If you feel that the relationship is no longer beneficial to you or your contact, or that you’ve reached your anticipated goals, you should simply part amicably, politely, and professionally. You may always return to these conversations, if desired, in the future.
Networking is a two-way street. You never know when someone may seek out your insights and advice in return. Hiatt encourages you to find time to share your resources, contacts, and information with other networkers - especially fellow Brandeis students and alumni - as you progress in your career.