8 Tips to Less Awkward Networking Meetings

You have worked hard and found someone to connect you with a person in your company of interest. You are an accountant. John in the IT department has agreed to meet with you. You know you want to work for his company. He knows you want to work for his company, what now? Here are some tips to maximize the meeting:

1) If the main point of the meeting is to ask, "can you hire me?", you are wasting your time. John works in another department and is not in the position to hire you.

2) Asking John to submit your resume before he knows you, could make for an awkward conversation. In order for John to be an advocate and champion of your cause, he has to get to know you professionally and and believe that he will maintain a good reputation by recommending you.
3) Don't waste John's time. Have pointed questions about the industry and his company to show you have done your research. Be able to communicate with John on the level of two professionals in the field having a conversation.

4) Do your research. Read John's LinkedIn profile, ask your contact that connected you to John about him and learn all you can about his company,

5) Don't be 'me focused'. John is taking time out of his day in exchange for a cup of coffee (hopefully!). What can you do for John? If you are not sure, ask John "Is there anything I can do for you?"

6) Networking is an organic process. It is not linear in that you have a meeting, the person makes a referral, you have interview and a job shortly thereafter. John may know of a job now, might know of a job later or might be more comfortable making a referral later. Don't expect immediate results.

7) Send John a thank you note by email. Begin investing in your new professional relationship with John by thanking him for his time.

and finally...

8) You can ask John what would be an effective way to apply for a job at his company. Would he suggest that you apply to someone specifically, go on the website, or find someone who is comfortable in referring you? What was his process like when he applied?