To start your search, consider all the sources at your disposal. Here are six places you can look for new networking connections:
1. Alumni databases: look up contacts using your business school, undergraduate, and high school alumni databases to find contacts. Search by company, industry, or keyword to find people who align with your short-term or long-term goals.
2. LinkedIn: now that you’ve updated your LinkedIn profile, use the Advanced Search option to look for contacts with roles/companies/industries you are interested in. If you don’t have any connections, the InMail option is a polite way to “cold call.” Join LinkedIn groups with your interests and message a member who you can network with.
3. Your classmates: the call with BCG that I mentioned in this week’s 100 Week Sprint was made possible by a classmate at Booth. She wasn’t recruiting for consulting, and it just so happened that one of her college roommates was at BCG, so she was happy to connect us. Ask your classmates for an introduction – you will be amazed who they are connected to!
4. Networking events/groups: by attending networking events or joining groups with targeted interests, you can meet others who share a specific interest. Try googling professional organizations in your city, or leverage tools such as Meetup.
5. Social activities: less targeted, but more fun! Expand your network outside of school. One favorite suggestion from a client was joining a virtual community like the Only Human Co. This is less of a source for directed cold calls, but a fun way to expand your network and give back to your community.
6. Company employee profiles: look up employees featured on company websites who are in positions you are interested in. Their contact information may be readily available online, or you may be able to find it in a Google or LinkedIn search.