How to Make Valuable Connections and Graduate with a Job
Pick a person who you would kill to have just a five minute conversation with. They could be someone who is just inspirational to you, a top executive of a company you have been dying to work for, or someone famous you have been idolizing for years. Alright, now get in touch with them.
I know for my first two months out of college my reaction was, “Why would they want to talk with me?” Trust me, most people say that and they are right, they will never talk to that person because they will never try. I wouldn’t call this a challenge if it were easy. I am sure the person you have chosen is not easily accessible or you probably would have already talked to them. Okay, so it’s going to take some digging, but there is a way to get to almost anyone. You just have to be creative. I took this challenge six months ago. My goal at the time was to work for ESPN, so I decided I was going to get in touch with my favorite sportscaster.
Before we release the whole eBook, we want to give you some concrete and simple techniques to get you closer to your dream job. So we present you with a challenge.
1. Stalk the Hell Out of Them
- It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet. You probably won’t find this person’s email address, but you will surely find some of their colleagues on LinkedIn or Google.
- Start evaluating these various employees of your target company. Do any of them have their email addresses listed? For any given company, you’re bound to find at least a handful of employees with public email addresses. Gather these addresses and see if you notice a pattern.
- I connected with multiple people on LinkedIn who were working at ESPN. I took their email addresses and filled in the blanks to what my sportscaster’s email might be based on the patterns. I formulated five email addresses that all had a chance at being the right one.
2. Find a Connection
- Do some quick research on this person. Are you from the same state? Did you attend the same college? Did you both play the same sport or were you in the same fraternity? Maybe none of the above. Do some creative thinking and find that commonality because we all have something in common.
- In my case, I was from the same hometown as my sportscaster, we had a mutual friend, and we both enjoyed sports (I played Division I volleyball, he worked at ESPN).
3. Craft the Message
- If someone was reaching out to you for the first time, do you think you would respond better if they just asked you for a favor, or if they expressed genuine interest in you?
- Think about who you know. Almost all of those people love to talk about themselves: their problems, their relationships, and most of all, their successes.
- Use this email to flatter the person and build a solid foundation for a business relationship. We love people who compliment us, and your contact will be more willing to lend a helping hand if they start off liking you. Not to mention, this shows that you’ve done your research and know this person’s accomplishments inside and out.
- If my sportscaster got one thing out of my email, it was what an inspiration he was to me. I wanted a five minute conversation with the person who has pushed me to work hard everyday to achieve my dreams. I said absolutely nothing about resumes, jobs, or referrals.
4. Reap the Benefits
- We knew you could do it! Now cultivate the connection you’ve made, and see the results. Enjoy having your resume circulated at the company, and kick ass at that interview your contact just happened to set up for you. Be prepared and get that job offer!
- Maybe you didn’t hear back this time. So what! Emailing is just one of many techniques you can use. You’ll have a better chance of hearing back after the next tool you try, because these people will recognize your name.
- Yes, I heard back from my sportscaster, but I will tell you I didn’t hear back from five other people I used the same techniques on. You can’t win them all, but a single win feels damn good!
So what happened? Some people may think I was just lucky or he was just nice, but I personally believe that I set myself up in a position to succeed. One month later, I had a missed call and voicemail on my phone. My sportscaster had called and left a long message. He had no idea how I got in touch with him, but he wanted to talk with me and help me out. He was shocked and impressed with the effort I made to reach him, and he left me his personal cell phone number to call back. I returned the call, and we chatted about college, jobs, his career and what type of position I wanted. I never asked if his assistant had pushed my name through or if he just decided to respond to my email, but my combined efforts had worked somehow. The next day I had an interview with ESPN, the company I had spent months trying to break into. More importantly, I made a valuable contact who I still keep in touch with to this day.
Visit our blog to learn more about this article with details on how this method landed Mel an interview at ESPN by way of her favorite sportscaster. Also, keep up to date on the release of this eBook by signing up to the mailing list here.
Question: What are you currently struggling the most with when creating valuable connections?
Good article, and pretty cool that Melanie made it work with a sportscaster!
I think the clear takeaway here is that you have to out there and get it. You cannot rely on others to do it for you nor the system to lead you directly to your dream job. Creativity goes a long way. Thanks for the post Mel!