Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

10 minutes, coffee and a chat can land you a job

Photo from Flickr by: nomsaleenaWhen I was a student looking for work, I cold called senior people who worked for companies I wanted to work for. Depending on the size of the company it sometimes took several calls. Notice I said “call” and not email. Pick up the phone!

My “ask” was for 10 minutes of their time to talk about the industry. I would always include a promise to bring them a coffee (don’t forget the cream and sugar).

Most people are kind enough to give you ten minutes, especially if you are a student or new to a town. People like to talk about themselves, so the 10 minutes usually becomes 30 or more.


Do your research. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twtter are valuable resources on the web, as is a simple Google search. Do your homework! Don’t go in to the meeting knowing nothing about the person and their company. You will leave a much better impression if you instantly have something to talk about and questions to ask them.

You may not walk out of the office with a job offer, but if you do it right, you’ll walk out with a new contact in the industry. If they like you they may even pick up the phone or send an email to someone they think you should meet. Hat tip to Hannah Paramore of Paramore|Redd.

One final question

Your last question before you depart should always be, Do you know anyone else in the industry who you think I should meet?

If you left a good impression they will likely give the names of a few great people to reach out to. Another hat tip goes to Karen Stone of Prince Market Research.

Don’t forget to follow up with a Thank You email or card. The people who agree to meet with you are kind enough to dedicate their valuable time, the least you can do is to say thank you.

Check out Chris Brogan’s great eBook on using the social web to find work.


Photo from Flickr by: nomsaleena


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  • Rbradley

    superb advice. did you record or log your reflections on the meeting to guide your next step? or were you able to keep it all in your head? The final question is so important. Excellent presentation, too.

  • *Fantastic* idea, but don't forget to reach out through your alumni network too. I've run into a few alumni and – especially if they're a few years older – *they're* the ones that suggest to get together for coffee. And most of them actually mean it.

    Alumni associations *love* it when alumni interact with other alumni or students.. everyone can win. :)

  • Great suggestion Keith. Thanks!

  • I kept a journal to keep me focused and to remember who introduced me
    to who.

    Most of the people and companies are still in my head though.

  • Dave. I'll throw an amen to this post. I speak to students all the time and am constantly encouraging them to do this. Flattery works.

  • Thanks Steve.

    I don't know the age you teach, but I've often pressed college
    students to start personal blogs on their lesson topics.

    Since they are already learning about the subjects, they may as well
    write about it too.

    It will help them establish their personal brands. It's good to have
    that in place when it's time to begin a career.


  • Darren Crawford

    Dave, another great, oft-overlooked tool for researching people (for sales or job-hunting) is recently out of beta. will pull from social media, news and who knows where else to give you a dossier about a person. And it is free.

  • Thanks Darren!

  • Kim

    Great advice! I just sent to my brother who graduated from U of L this year. Thanks!

  • Best of luck to your brother!
    Thanks for the feedback.

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  • Since execs are super busy, you may run the risk getting voice mail. You can come across as pushy if you call back too soon (1 week? 2 weeks?) or run the risk of the awkwardness of the exec not calling back at all (due to being busy). Would you have any advice on this? Perhaps tracking down the secretary to ask to set up a phone meeting?

  • I would leave a message the first time. If you get voicemail on follow ups, I wouldn’t bother leave a message. Unless, you have tried more than a few times. If you don’t hear back, it’s probably because the person doesn’t want to speak with you.

    Unfortunately, there are jerks out there too. Conclude that you wouldn’t want to work for someone who won’t return your calls.