Question of the week
I am glad to be back in Vancouver after being away for 2 months. This place is great, it’s got fresh air, water, mountains and all.. However if you are young, hungry and somewhat ambitious you may choose to start your career in a bigger city. Here are a few tips on how to reach out to professionals outside of your location.
Networking outside of your own city
I worked in the recruitment industry for over 8 years across Europe, Asia and Australia. Many times I would have to ‘coldcall’ professionals outside of my reach, for example I would have to reach out to software engineers in Poland when I was in London. In my personal case, I started ‘networking’ for my own job search in Vancouver when I was still physically in London UK.
#1 Connect on a common ground
The first question professionals will have in mind when they receive a ‘coldmail’ is ‘ WHY ME? There are thousands of other employees here, WHY ME?’
My advice is find someone with a common interest eg sports or other hobbies. If you are a computer science student at the UBC who is looking to network with someone in San Francisco, I would use keywords on Google search such as ‘UBC, San Francisco, Product Manager, hockey, LinkedIn’, with this I have generated a few relevant leads from my search results.
In the above case, you can also try networking with professionals who have relocated from San Francisco to Vancouver. When you meet them for a coffee, you can ask them politely for further leads within their network in San Francisco. A good way to phrase it will be ‘ I am planning for a trip down to San Francisco next month, who would you recommend me to get in touch with / what online resources or meet-up groups would you recommend me to check out if I am looking to learn more about virtual reality?
#2 Showing commitment
Most professionals are willing to help, and they decide on whether to invest their time based on your commitment. Explain your action plan to them during the first reach out, for example if you are a finance student who is going on an exchange, start reaching out at least a month before your trip. A good way to phrase it will be ‘
#3 It is a numbers game
After spending 2 years in Vancouver, I almost forgot people have way busier lives in other major cities. When I was back in Hong Kong during the holiday season, most of my friends were either busy travelling, training for a marathon or minding their young families. It would take me over a week to get lunch or coffee organized. My point is, although most people are willing to help, replying to your mail is probably not going to be at their top priorities.
It is a numbers game after all, you may get a ‘YES!’ after reaching out to the tenth person. Just remember, your creative approach and determination will weed out the rest of your competition.
Keep on hustling and may the force be with you!