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Finding your next job - The Next Step Project
Making and leveraging connections

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1. The ask

Taking the first step to reach out for a connection or to a connection can be daunting. Hopefully these suggestions make it easier for you.

Before asking for a connection

Have a clear idea about the support you require
Are you looking to learn more about someone’s career path, their role, or their company? Or are you looking for general advice or a referral for a specific role?
Set realistic expectations
Of the kind of support you will receive from your connections.
Be armed with details on why you want a specific connection.
This’ll tie back to your understanding of what type of support you’re looking for.

How to ask for a connection

Don’t be shy!
The worst thing that’ll happen is someone says no or they don’t respond.
Show an interest
Focus on what’s relevant to your connection and what they do (or perhaps the industry they work in) so you can find common ground. This is particularly important if you’re doing a cold reach out - and still helps even when you’re asking a mutual connection for an introduction.
Be assertive, not aggressive in your asks
State them clearly, but do not make demands of others.
Be specific
Clearly identify what you need and provide details on your own experience (e.g., a 2-3 sentence blurb about your background and future interests). This’ll help connections more quickly determine how and what the best way to help is.
Don’t hesitate to reach out
This means expanding your reach across race, gender, industry, and experience.
Just do it and you’ll get increasingly comfortable!
Check out sample wording and great networking tips - especially for introverts and POC -
Remember: You are not entitled to the help you expect to receive from a connection. They are doing you a favor.

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