After getting introduced, you’ll want to set up some informational interviews, or what I like to call exploratory interviews. These interviews will likely be with Prospects in your network – people that you’ve been introduced to through Champions and are getting to know you.
If you want to better your chances of landing an exploratory interview, make sure you’re asking for it in the right way. Here’s an example:
Dear [Contact Name],
Jane Smith recently introduced us and I have long been an admirer of [company name]. I’m interested in learning about your career and if you have any advice, insight or recommendations about how to make some headway into your industry. Might you have 15 minutes to chat over the phone? If not, would it be possible for me to send you a couple of questions over email? Or perhaps you could share any resources with me that you’ve found to be particularly helpful.
I really appreciate your time and guidance.
This letter is succinct, doesn’t ask for a job and gives the person alternatives if they don’t have time to meet.
Nurture Your Network
You want your network to always have you top of mind when they learn about opportunities where you could be a good fit. The best way to do this is to ramp up your personal marketing efforts — in other words build your personal brand.
Here are just a few ideas to start building your brand as a successful marketer:
- LinkedIn – Create your profile and then get active. Share articles, publish long-form posts (blogs) and participate in groups. This builds your credibility and keeps your name in front of your connections.
- Personal Website – Grab yourname.com and start a site or a blog. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just focus on good content.
- Speak – Offer to speak at an association meeting or submit a proposal for an industry conference. You can even teach a class or workshop – maybe there’s a community-based adult education program or local college where they are lacking content that matches your expertise.
- Publish – Submit articles to an industry magazine or blog. They are always looking for content, and it will give you something to share with your network. Before you know it, you’ll be considered a thought-leader.
As a marketer, the stronger your own personal online presence is, the more marketable you will be as an employee. Think about it. Would you hire a Director of Marketing who couldn’t be found on social media or even the first two pages (giving some leeway for people with a common name) of Google?
Regardless of whether you are actively looking for a new job or not, you should always be reaching out to your network. Don’t let your network “die” just because you don’t have immediate need for it. The more you give, the more you get. Wouldn’t it be great if your next opportunity came through an inbound lead? It happens!
What steps are you going to take to build and nurture your network? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.