The Beginner’s Guide to “Coffee Chats” & Networking on LinkedIn

The Beginner’s Guide to “Coffee Chats” & Networking on LinkedIn

Senior Account Manager at Agnostic

Networking may seem intimidating and confusing, but for undergrad students, immigrants, and any other job seekers, it’s a critical tool for learning about different career paths – and for making the connections to get there.

So while everyone develops their own networking style over time, if you’re simply struggling with where to begin, try starting here:

1. Fill out your LinkedIn profile.

Even if you don’t have job experience yet, complete what you can to give your prospective connections an idea of who you are. A profile picture, your current schooling, and a short bio on your career goals makes your profile look more authentic and can go a long way to secure connections.

2. Find a useful contact.

Search LinkedIn for professionals at companies you would like to work for and in roles that interest you. When possible, try sourcing alumni from your school or past employers to give you a point of commonality you can reference in your outreach.

3. Send a connection request with a note.*

Introduce yourself and explain why you want to connect, outlining specific parts of the other person’s resume and your commonalities, as well as the fact that you’d like to chat further.

Hi [Name]! I am a [program] student at [School] who is eager to learn more about [industry]. I would love to connect to chat about your role at [company] – I have a long-term goal of becoming a [occupation], and I think your insight would be invaluable.

*Desktop users can click Connect followed by Add a note . Mobile users can click the ellipsis icon (three dots) and select Personalize invite .

3. If they accept your request but don’t respond to your note: follow up.

The easier you make it for them to schedule the informational call – or “coffee chat” – the more likely they are to say yes. On top of thanking them https://kissbrides.com/fi/kuuma-venalainen-naiset/ for connecting, your follow-up note should:

  • Give them options for how you chat. Offer an in-person meeting, if geographically convenient, or ask if they prefer a Zoom call to a phone call.
  • Offer a wide range of availability. Since they’re ultimately doing you a favour, encourage them to choose a date and time which works best for them.
  • Avoid too much back and forth. Send all the details they need in one message to show proactivity and keep the conversation short and sweet, knowing they’re busy.

Example:

Thanks for connecting! I would love to schedule a call to learn more about your career and gain any advice you have for me as I try to get my foot in the door of [industry]. Do you have availability in the next two weeks? I am free [days of the week] any time after [time + timezone], and I’d be happy to send a calendar invite and Zoom link to whichever e-mail address you’d like.

If they still don’t respond, don’t take it personally! Some people are rarely on LinkedIn, and others just have a lot on their plate. Reach out to multiple people for a better chance of landing a call and refrain from pestering anyone beyond the first follow-up – you don’t want to burn bridges.

4. If they respond to your note or follow-up: s et up a time to meet or call.

Confirm your meeting details using the follow-up tips above and then e-mail your connection a calendar invite with the relevant location, Zoom link, or phone number. Unless they state otherwise, only schedule 30 minutes with them out of respect for their time.

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