5 Steps to Great Career Networking

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Is your contact list empty? Better get to work on that.

Now that you’re convinced that networking is a key part of your job search, you might be wondering how exactly to do it. Here are 5 simple steps for great results.

Step 1. Build Your Contact List

The best way to start networking, is to start with people you already know. So, make a list. Write down everybody you know who is somehow related to the game industry – teachers, developers, recruiters, anybody. These are the first people you’ll have networking meetings with. They can give you advice and introduce you to even more people who can help you out.

Step 2. Schedule the Networking Meetings

Once you’ve built your list, start calling or emailing those contacts to set up networking meetings. You should be up-front about why you want to meet, and what your goals are. Here’s an example (phone or email) to get you started:

  • “Hey Meghan. What have you been up to? I’m graduating this year so I’m gathering info about game studios that I might want to work at. Since you’re in the industry, I’m hoping you might have some info or advice for me. BTW I’m not asking for a job or anything, I’m just trying to learn more about the industry. Would you have time to meet for lunch or coffee next week?”

Step 3. Keep the Meeting Focused On Goals

When you’re meeting your contact for lunch or drinks or whatever, the time can go quickly – be sure to use it wisely. Keep these goals in mind:

  1. Thank the person for meeting with you
  2. Give them a 60-second overview of your skills and talents, and the sorts of jobs you’re interested in
  3. Ask for their opinion on which game studios they think you should be targeting in your search
  4. Ask them to suggest the names of 2 or 3 other people (hopefully at those studios) who might be able to help you out
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It’s helpful to get any other info or advice they might have. But the most important goal is to get those names, so you can continue to grow your network. Remember to write it all down.

Step 4. Rinse and Repeat

For each name you get during your meetings, add them to your list. Then reach out and ask for their help, as a referral from your previous contact.

  • “Hi Mr. Gordons, our mutual friend Meghan Smith thought you’d be a good person to talk to about finding a job as a [programmer/artist/etc.] in the game industry. I’m graduating this year so I’m trying to learn more about the industry, and about whether your company might have any applicable job openings. I’d appreciate any help or advice you might have to offer.”

Step 5. Say Thanks

Don’t forget to send follow-up emails to each and every person who helps you out. There’s no reason to wait – send it the very next day. And, someday, be sure to return the favor!

If you liked this article, please share it on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Image: nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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