Did you know a cup of coffee can get you a job or a new client? It’s true.
When I was a student in Toronto, I worked diligently at networking so that I could jumpstart my career in marketing. I would look on websites and read marketing trade publications to try to determine who I needed to speak with. I would then cold call the companies and ask to speak with the person who I hoped would hire me. It wasn’t easy, but I was persistent. Today it is easier.
In Toronto, I met a great person who offered me an un-paid internship, which I couldn’t afford to take. Years later at a different company and in a more senior position, he reached out again and hired me.
10 Steps to Using a Coffee to Get a Job
- Research the companies you want to work for in your city. Then visit their LinkedIn page or site to determine who the person is you need to meet. For me, it was CMOs and Presidents of companies, but it depends on what type of position you are looking for. Be sure to check their social profiles, so you can learn more about the individual.
- Rehearse your honest story. Who are you? Why are you calling? Perhaps you are a student interested in the industry, or maybe you are new to the city. Regardless, you are calling to schedule an in-person, casual chat. You are not asking for a job. You want to learn more about the industry.
- Call the company, and ask to speak with the person. Chances are likely that you will end up speaking with his or her assistant (or a receptionist). Be nice. They are the ones who will decide whether to connect you or not. The assistant’s job is to vet the calls, so be courteous and polite.
- Don’t be too persistent, but do your best to follow up if you haven’t heard back. Also know when to give up if the person won’t give you the time. They aren’t worth working for anyway.
- Set up the meeting. Promise two things about the meeting: 1. You won’t take more than 15 minutes of their time. 2. You will bring them a coffee.
- The meeting: Bring them the coffee, and don’t forget the creamers and sugar. They will remember you, because you actually brought them the coffee. Have questions prepared about the industry you are interested in. Ask them questions about how they got started at their company, where they are from, etc. You will discover that 15 minutes can easily become an hour. People like to talk about themselves, it’s human nature. Listen carefully.
- Thank them for their time. Be sure to thank the assistant if he or she is nearby as you leave.
- Send a Thank You email (a card works well too). In the email, ask them who else they recommend you speak with in the industry. They will likely offer to introduce you. You can also politely ask them to let you know of any open positions please.
- Send them a request to connect on LinkedIn. Don’t send them the generic invite. Write something original.
- Follow up. Once you land on your feet with a new job, be sure to write them to let them know. Don’t forget to thank them again for their time and assistance.
Bonus: A little later down the road, invite the person for a coffee, or offer to bring them one again. Nobody will keep the same job they have today for their entire career, so keep connected to your network as you grow it.
This post originally appeared in Venture Beat.