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The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Tag: careers

How I Used Coffee to Network My Way to a Job

Dave Delaney

Dave Coffee
Dave Coffee

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

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Thank them for their time. Be sure to thank the assistant if he or she is nearby as you leave.
  1. 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.
  1. Send them a request to connect on LinkedIn. Don’t send them the generic invite. Write something original.
  1. 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

Students Need Blogs

Dave Delaney

Students Need BlogsI stress that students need blogs when I speak at universities and colleges. It's crazy not to blog if you are a student. As a student, you are being fed information around areas that you are interested in for your careers. Blog it! Share it with the world. When you write a paper (after it has been graded), you should consider breaking it into multiple blog posts. Share what you have learned.

I recently wrote about how I created a blog to learn about Nashville's technology and marketing communities before I moved to the city. I considered it a fun research project.

I keep reading how it is harder than ever for graduate students to find jobs. This is a great reason why now is the time to establish yourself, not after you have graduated.

Start a blog. Write about what you learn. Recap interesting notes from classes. Interview fellow students, faculty and professionals. Include your contact information and resume too, so it is available.

What other ways can students market themselves early and build their networks?

Illustration from Flickr by: inju

Persistence Gets You Everywhere

Dave Delaney

Tristan WalkerA little over two years ago, Tristan Walker, a soon-to-be second year Stanford Business School student, had an idea. He wanted to get a job working for the popular location based service, foursquare. He took a gamble and decided to write an email directly to the founders, Dens Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. It took Tristan eight emails before Dens offered to meet him in New York. Tristan lied and said that he would be in NYC the next day, but he actually had to book a flight from Los Angeles to be there for the meeting.

a lot of folks ask me how Ive been able to secure some pretty cool spots at awesome companies and my answer is always the same. “be so enamored with the product that you would work for the company even if they didnt hire you….more importantly find where the needs are within the organization and be willing to do whatever it takes to help them fill the need (work for free even!)…and MOST importantly make sure that youre filling a need that the organization doesnt have the resources to fill on its own. If a company is not willing to let a hungry, passionate, smart, unpaid advocate of the product help the organization to fill that need (when it doesnt have the resources to do it itself) then you probably shouldnt be working at the company anyway. They’re just being arrogant”…Dennis and Naveen made pretty clear that their passion was with product (and theyre the best in the world at it). I knew i could help them (without much guidance and hand holding) to think through the business opportunities / potential for foursquare. And i did it for free (for 30 days at least :)). I gained their trust, which was most important. The past two years for me have been nothing short of amazing. Dennis/Naveen didnt have to but they gave me a shot and really did change my life. I owe those guys a ton and im truly appreciative of it all. Now, back to work…. :)

Tristan became Business Development VP for foursquare. He proved that persistence can get you very far. You can find his original email to the foursquare founders on his blog. It's a fun a read.

Do you know anyone who got a job from not giving up?

Photo from LinkedIn