I Used To Be Scared to Network
1) Host something at a conference in an industry you want to work in. Tweet-ups are popular in SF and tech conferences. Even the venerable, NSA, Nat’l Speakers Association, is starting to use social media. A lot of my friends
are in engineering, so I recommended buying the first round drinks of drinks for every twitterer at the American Society of Chemical Engineers that RSVPed ‘yes’ with a tweet and hashtagged “#ASCE09″
1b) Invest in real world tuition. If you spent $5,000 every year for 14 years (that’s grades one thru 12 and then two years of community college), then you should invest another $200 per month in real world tuition. I’d spend the $120 of my $200 budget on drinks for the 12 Twitterers at ASCE 2009 West Coast Leadership Summit at Moscone West followed by dinner reception at Westin St Francis. Or I’d use another $50 and order five large pizza’s for the “afterparty” by the Clock Tower bar at the Westin. The idea is that with your $120 or $50 you’re buying access to mentors.
I love ratios and when I smell a person spent $120,000 and cannot tip $80 I know I am dealing with a dog that can’t hunt.
1c) I don’t love the idea of working the registration table because it makes you seem common. Very few recruiters/ hiring people can character compass the talented registration table worker and convert them to 1st year associate. Hosting is a position of power but registration tabling makes you seem like a Fox College administrative ass’t.
2) Pre-network via social media. Getting invited may still feel like party crashing if you don’t already know a couple people. Pre-networking involves saying hi via a facebook group or Twitter hashtag (#vcSecrets, #bwe08, #Foo, #Asse9)
3) Learning to love ‘no’ is a stretch, but tolerating a half a dozen no’s for one really good ‘maybe’ is worth it.
4) Close for a cell phone number. If you have a great conversation, wrap it by asking for their cell number first. I follow it by texting, “Hi, nice to meet you. what is your email? larryChiang@duck9.com”. If you get resistance, I joke, “I swear I won’t call you late night”.
5) Read Susan Roane’s, “How to Work a Room” and remember that everyone is a little shy. Our choosing to stay shy is actually being kinda rude. Hope this helps :-) oh and couple more…
6) Blog. Even if you blog with just pictures with a 100 word summary, you can get access. One guy I know tipped bribed comped and tipped his way into blogging for GigaOm. I recommend guest blogging vs starting your own blog. I even recommend posting it first as a facebook note and tagging your interviewee. “At the birds” seems like an up and coming blog, I’d fBook Dan Kessler or Andy Chan
7) Do not email for an in person meeting. Asking for coffee meeting buried in an email is a big momentum stopper. Coffee meetings = 1.5 hrs. I get meetings because I pin down a 10 minute call that I set up via email.
7B) Email subject line needs to be strong and communicative. For example, I use, “Entrepreneurship conf / VC speed dating / larry chiang / 650-283-8008″
7C) I ping an email before I email it. I use one ping only. For example, I use the subject up above. In the body, I write, “Is this the best email address for you”.
8) Get in early and leave late. The old way was to ‘big league’ by flying in late and flying out early. You as the newly minted grad, doused in the scent of presidential timber, need to outwork, outflank and outshine industry veterans and stalwarts.
I blog about stuff they don’t teach in b-school and got a book deal out of it. My book comes out 09-09-09