How to Use a Cup of Coffee to Get a Job
I had the good fortune of speaking to students and faculty at Tennessee State University recently. During my talk, I was reminded of how I used a cup of coffee to get a job many years ago. This is a surefire way for you to do the same if you are on the hunt. This can also help you land a new client too, so even if you aren't looking for a new gig, read on.
There is a statistic floating around that more than 70 percent of jobs are not listed on job sites or career pages. The best way to get your foot in the door is to network your way inside.
Here are 10 steps to using a coffee to land a job or new client.
1. Research the companies you want to work for in your city. Visit their LinkedIn company page or site to determine who the person is you need to meet. Be sure to check their social profiles, so you can learn more about the individual.
2. Rehearse your honest story. Who are you? Why are you calling? Perhaps you are a student interested in the industry, or maybe you are new to the city. Regardless, you are calling to schedule an in-person, casual chat. You are not asking for a job. You want to learn more about the industry.
3. Call the company and ask to speak with the person. Chances are likely that you will end up speaking with his or her assistant. Be nice. They are the ones who will decide whether to connect you or not. The assistant’s job is to vet the calls, so again, be nice.
4. Don’t be too persistent, but do your best to follow up if you haven’t heard back. Also know when to give up if the person won’t give you the time. They aren’t worth working for anyway.
5. Set up the meeting. Promise two things about the meeting — You won’t take more than 15 minutes of their time, and you'll bring them a coffee.
6. The meeting: Bring them the coffee, and don’t forget the creamers and sugar. They will remember you because you actually brought them coffee. Have questions prepared about the industry you are interested in. Ask them questions about how they got started at their company, where they are from, etc. You will discover that 15 minutes can easily become an hour. People like to talk about themselves, it’s human nature. Listen carefully.
7. Thank them for their time. Be sure to thank the assistant if he or she is nearby as you leave.
8. Send a Thank You email (a card works well too). In the email, ask them who else they recommend you speak with in the industry. They will likely offer to introduce you. You can also politely ask them to let you know of any open positions, please.
9. Send them a request to connect on LinkedIn. Don’t send them the generic, default request. If you are doing this using the LinkedIn mobile app. Click the ellipse on the top right corner of their profile and select "Personalize Invite." Write something original.
10. Follow up. Once you land on your feet with a new job, be sure to write them to let them know. Don’t forget to thank them again for their time and assistance. More on following up here.