We can all admit that leaving college and entering the real world is quite a terrifying transition. There is a ton of pressure, and it hits hard once you make it to senior year. Everyone around you is constantly asking you what your plan is post-graduation. Not everyone knows what they want to do right away, and that is totally okay.
One thing that may make this transition period easier is if you know someone that is a professional in a company that interests you. Here are some tips on how to approach that person regardless of your relationship with them.
So you notice that an old acquaintance you have not been in touch with for years has your dream job. Understandably, you want to reach out, but before you press that “Send” button, do your research. Make sure you know what that person has been up to and what his or her current work entails before you send that “Hey, what’s up?” email. It can be a bit jarring for someone else to receive an email out of the blue, so the more personalized your message, the more likely you are to get a response.
2. Keep Your Email Short and to the Point
Now that you have done your research, put yourself out there. What’s the worst that can happen? The hardest part is figuring out how to set up your email. The most important thing is to keep your message short (only three or four sentences), and make your ask clear.
Whether it’s grabbing coffee to talk about breaking into the engineering field or discussing how you can be an even better job seeker, make your request easy for the other person to fulfill.
What should a coffee meeting email say? Here’s a brief template:
Long time, no talk! I’ve been busy [explain your situation in 3-4 words], and it looks like you’ve been doing huge things at [explain person’s situation in 3-4 words].
I have a very quick favor to ask you. I’m [explain what you’re looking for in 1-2 sentences] and would really appreciate your help. I would love to grab coffee with you sometime to really hear your thoughts on [add one sentence explaining what you specifically need].
I totally understand that you’re really busy, so it’s okay if you can’t take this on right now! Either way, I’d love to catch up soon.
If you want more helpful tips for crafting a networking email, check out this article.
3. Follow Up
If this person has yet to get back to you, make sure you follow up with them five to seven days later.
This message can be something like this:
I just wanted to follow up with you about grabbing coffee sometime soon to discuss [write 4-5 words about your initial inquiry].
If you are too busy to do this, I totally understand, and if it’d be easier, I’d absolutely be open to doing a phone or Skype call. Let me know what works best for you, and I look forward to hearing back from you!
Regardless, remember not to take offense if someone doesn’t get back to you. People are busy, and typically a lack of response has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other person’s schedule!
4. Get Logistics Out of the Way Quickly
Let’s say the person responds to your follow up message or better yet your initial approach! The biggest thing to do before your meeting is to get logistics out of the way.
Now it is time to make a decision about where you are going to reconvene. Suggest a nearby coffee shop (and since you’re asking for the coffee meeting, you’re the one paying!), and make sure it’s convenient for the other person to get there. Another logistical must-have? Get your contact’s phone number; if something happens, you don’t want to be stuck trying to email him or her!
Everyone has been where you are, and people will be more understanding and helpful than you may give them credit for. Put yourself out there and see what greatness unfolds!