In the past month, I have been on coffee dates galore. As obvious as this sounds, grabbing coffee with someone is the easiest form of networking and it is the simplest way to have an informational interview.
I've had coffee with friends of friends, who I've always wanted to get to know and happen to share similar career aspirations with me. I've had coffee with younger Communication majors who are asking me for my advice. And of course, I've had coffee with mentors who currently work in the field I desire to be in following graduation.
Each one of these coffee dates has mattered. Whether you are meeting with the CEO of a Fortune 500 or a freshman at your university, never miss the opportunity to build a relationship. You never know when this relationship will be of use later down the road.
Here are some questions to help spark the conversation during the networking and informational interview process:
-What are you doing now?
-What do you want to be doing in the future?
-What have you done in the past?
-What is your favorite thing about your work?
-What other companies in your industry do you admire?
-What blogs and publications do you read?
-Who do you look up to?
-Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
-What advice do you have for someone looking to enter into a similar career?
-Is there anyone else you think of that I would benefit from speaking with?
Most importantly, as much as making new connections matters... don't neglect previously built relationships. Always spend time to keep in touch with former colleagues and supervisors. Every relationship needs upkeep and a coffee date is the easiest way to do so.