Updated: Aug 21
Finding a new job is not just about sending out resumes and hoping a recruiter or hiring manager will see the value you can bring to a company. The best way to find a new job is to tap into your current network, and also leverage your current relationships to add to your network and build new relationships. But not everyone loves sending cold emails to new people.
Here is a three step roadmap to help you get out there and expand your network with meet/greets:
1. The Approach
Approach each of your friends and colleagues and ask them if there is one person they can introduce you to at a company you’d like to work for or a hiring manager in your current field. If you are trying to break into a new field, ask your friends and colleagues if they know someone you can talk to who works in that field. When you have your list of people to reach out to, write them an email to introduce yourself and ask for a meet and greet. For example:
For meeting people in your current field:
My name is <Your Name> and I am interested in learning more about your <Company>. I noticed you have an extensive career in <Name of Field>, and I am hoping you would be willing to spend 20 minutes with me discussing your career trajectory and what it takes to be successful in <Name of Field> at your company.
Please let me know if there is a time you may be available to speak.
Best, <Your name>
For transferring skills to a new field:
My name is <Your Name> and I am interested in transferring my skills and capabilities into <Name of Field>. I noticed you have an extensive career in <Name of Field>, and I am hoping you would be willing to spend 20 minutes with me discussing your career trajectory and what it takes to be successful in <Name of Field>.
Please let me know if there is a time you may be available to speak.
2. The Conversation
The goal of the conversation is to make a “connection” and start to build a relationship. Some discussions will be a “one and done” and some will lead to long-term mentorship or advice. Try to make the conversation as organic as possible though these conversations can be a bit uncomfortable at first. Start here:
Say hello! Ask casually how his/her day is going and thank the interviewee for taking time to talk to you.
Briefly introduce yourself, why you reached out and how you found them.
o Are you interested in knowing more about the industry/the interviewee’s career path?
o Was it random?
o Did you have something in common such as graduating from the same college or working at a former workplace you interned or volunteered at?
Ask questions. Have a list of potential questions so you aren’t worried about what you are going to ask, and you can truly listen and engage in the conversation.
If you want to work in the same field where you already have experience, consider questions like these:
o How is the function structured at your company?
o Have you seen changes in the function over the past five years?
o What are the challenges you see daily?
o What do you (or the hiring manager) look for in candidates when you are hiring?
o Can you tell me about the company?
o What is it about your company that keeps you there?
o What type of person is successful on your team?
o What type of person has not been successful on your team?
o What is the culture at the company?
If you are thinking of transferring your skills to a new career, consider questions like these:
o I’d love to hear how you got into < X field>.
o How did you decide to work at < name of company>?
o What makes your job in your field unique compared to other people in your field (e.g. sales in medical device versus sales in another field)?
o What hard and soft skills do managers look for to be successful in your field?
o Do you need higher education such as a Masters or PhD or MBA to enter/be successful your field?
o Is there one specific skill that is a “must have” in your field?
o Where do people start in this career and how does their career progress?
o Who is this career NOT for? (Or what type of person is not successful in this field?)
o Does economic uncertainty change the work in this field?
o I’m trying to wrap my head around “workplace culture.” Have you noticed different cultures in the various jobs you’ve had, and can you describe them?
o What advice do you have for someone like me trying to break into this field?
At the end of the conversation ask if they would recommend you speak to anyone else in the field? This will allow you to expand your network even further.
3. After your conversation. You just made a connection. Don’t forget to send a thank-you note via email! Someone just took precious time out of their day to connect with you and give you advice. Thank them for their time and expertise. Write that you will stay connected as you progress in transferring to a new career or landing a new job, and then do just that. Stay connected even if you determine from the conversation that you will never work at the interviewee’s company. Remember, this was about building a relationship for today, tomorrow or the future.
Also don’t forget to thank the colleague or friend who introduced you to the interviewee. Let them know you had the conversation and what you learned.
One of the most important things to remember about meet and greets: The interviewee should be doing 90% of the talking. You should be doing most of the question asking. At the same time, keep in mind every meet/greet is an “interview” of you too, so be prepared to explain in one sentence where you are in your career and why you are looking for a new job.
Looking to move to a new job in the same career in which you have experience:
"I was recently laid off in the mass layoffs at <name of company>. I have always been interested in <name of interviewee’s company> / <X industry> and wanted to learn more about the company culture and what kind of person succeeds at <name of interviewee’s company.>"
Looking for a new career example:
"I have been thinking about my career and working to move into a role where I can bring the most value. In exploring various fields, I came across various <Name of Field> jobs and they really piqued my interest - so thank you for taking the time to talk with me today about this field."
What not to do: Don’t ask for a job or a referral to a job quite yet. If there is a job opening at the company and they like you from the meet/greet, they will either mention it to you if they know about it or you can approach them in the thank you note. For example:
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me about <name of company> and your role at the company. I was so impressed with everything you said that I immediately went online and looked for jobs. I was excited to see an opening for a <name of job>. Is that in your department? Would you be comfortable connecting me with a recruiter or referring me to the role so my application doesn’t get lost in the sea of resumes?
Again, I truly appreciate your time and hope to keep in touch as I progress in my job search.
The more people you meet, the better chance someone will be able to connect you to a recruiter or hiring manager.
The journey is yours.