Building an Authentic Network of Insider Connections
Welcome to Day 4!
Time to leverage your connections. If you’ve been doing plenty of connecting, chances are that you’ll have relevant folks you can contact. These connections can broker introductions to your connectors of interest.
Initiating Meaningful Interactions with Insider Connections
Here is the key: People will actually go to great lengths for you if you “come off” like a winner. This means that you showcase HVTs.
Find the link that connects you to the expert or insider. Request an introduction.
I noticed you are connected to _________. I would really love to pick her brain for five minutes, and I’m wondering if you could send this quick introduction over. Is that okay with you? See below …”
Paste in an introduction so your connection only has to copy and paste and helping you literally takes them two seconds. Once the introduction is made, it’s time to message the insider directly.
How to Introduce Yourself to the Insider
Elements of a message that will have a low success rate:
• an introduction that fails to grab attention or inspire the insider to care about you
• a request that involves poor questions that require too much work to answer
• a message with the focus on getting the help you need rather than easing into a potential mutually beneficial relationship.
Let’s consider a good email:
I see you went to school in my hometown (go, Blue Jays!).
Upon researching environmental consultancies, I noticed you’re a marine biologist at ________.
I’m targeting a similar role and would love to ask you three or four questions about your experience.
I figure a short chat might be a better way to respect your time rather than putting them here. Would you be available to meet for coffee this Thursday at 10:30 am? If not, I can also be flexible on Friday.
Let’s consider the HVT elements here:
• The email shows that I am someone they can relate to on two levels—a fun social level (Blue Jays) and a professional interest level (marine biologist).
• There is just one small relatively easy request.
• The call-to-action requires a very simple response.
• The email is very brief.
Building Successful Relationships with Insiders
The key to fruitful interactions is in the questions. You want to make sure that the insider doesn’t regret making time for you. The key to good questions that will build the insider’s respect for you is demonstrating that you have already wrestled with the question yourself.
Here is how this is done:
• Develop preliminary hypotheses.
• Ask questions and add the results of your research so far.
For example, if you are targeting an HR generalist role, you might ask which particular HR functions seem to lend the best experience for the generalist function. The hypothesis supported by research might look like this: “I’ve found through my research that quite a number of generalists have extensive recruiting backgrounds.”
Now that’s a good question!
As a result of your meeting or phone call with the insider, you will most likely have come away from the interaction with actionable advice that you must now go and act on. You can utilize the steps of indicating appreciation and updating on the outcome of your action to keep in touch with this insider and foster a relationship with them. This can be done in three steps:
Post-meeting contact 1: appreciation + recap. This is a thank-you note that is rich with HVTs. It shows that you were listening, that you take action, that you want to reciprocate, and that you respect their time and are not expecting a response.
Post-meeting contact 2: value return. Let a couple of weeks pass and make a point of sending the insider something of value. Whatever it is should tie back into their field of expertise, interests, or recommendations for you (e.g., interesting article, research, study, blog post, etc). Again, you don’t want to burden the contact with feeling obligated to respond.
Here is an example:
Came across this article in HR Monthly and thought it had an interesting perspective on the developments in machine learning as they relate to hiring in large organizations. Thought you might find it interesting—no response needed!”
Post-meeting contact 3: update and validation. This may include the following:
• letting them know you did indeed take the actions recommended
• letting them know what effect or outcome came of it
• letting them know what your planned next steps are
• letting them know you are open to further recommendations should there be any for the next steps
Tomorrow, we’ll be discussing the steps for getting introduced to decision-makers prior to submitting an application.
Happy job marketeering until then,
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