University of South Carolina :: Darla Moore School of Business   the Competitive Edge

with Nathan Perez

In the two previous videos in the series, Nathan Perez talked about:

  1. The importance of networking
  2. The steps of a successful networking meeting.

In this video you'll see a shortened version of a mock 20 minute networking meeting.

  • Background of the Video

The recent graduate is networking with an executive who created a career path that she is interested in. This video is only 10 minutes long, it is a truncated version of an actual meeting. No meeting must be 20 minutes, in some cases they will be longer, in some cases they will be shorter. But watching this video will give you a really good sense of how fluid and effective such a meeting can be. Following are the five steps of a 20 minute networking meeting:

Step 1. The Great First Impression
          Nathan: Hi, are you Taous?
          Taous: Yes and Nathan?
          Nathan: I'm Nathan. Nice to meet you.
          Taous: Nice to meet you too.

          Taous: I really love this neighborhood. There is a restaurant down the street, The Wayland, Nordic inspired. Do you know?
          Nathan: Yeh, It is right around this corner.
          Taous: Yes, it is a grocery store with organic ingredients, locally sourced. My favorite.
          Nathan: Yes, my colleague just introduce it to me like a month ago. I walk by all the time. I hadn't been there.

          Taous: Well, thank you so much for sitting down with me. I want to be sensitive to your schedule. So, I will only take about 20 minutes to ask you about three questions as they relate to my career development.
          Nathan: Oh, sure ok. Are you looking for a job?
          Taous: Yes, but I'm not asking for one. It is more about research to inform my career path and goals. Which reminds me. Abigale Smales who introduced us, asked me to say hi.
          Nathan: Oh, thats right Abby and I work together like a long time ago. How is she doing?
          Taous: She is great. You worked in The Green Initiative together, right?
          Nathan: That is right.
          Taous: She has been a mentor to me and she mentioned that’s where the two of you guy started. And she also thought that your career path is similar to what I'm on and you would be the perfect person for me to connect with.
          Nathan: Oh, I see. OK

Step 2. The Great Overview

          Taous: But before we get in to that I'd love to give you just a 60 second snapshot of my background for some context, if that will be OK?
          Nathan: Actually, that will be great.
          Taous: So, I earned my BS degree from the business school in Kentucky and three of the four years I had paid internships. In the third year, my third internship, It was at the Mille Foods Plant across the river in New Albany, Indiana. And I assisted Chris Souza who was the general manger there readying in the plant for sale to a holding company which is also how I ended up getting to Minneapolis.
          Nathan: I see, ok.
          Taous: So, from that experience I had suspected that I'd really like to be a manager in the corporate environment. But, I ask Chris' opinion and he connected to me Abby. So we had a video meeting. And then temporary position opened up in her division. So she sent me the link, I applied, two interviews and I landed the role.
          Nathan: And you got the job. Congratulations.
          Taous: Thank you. So the year before I started my MBA and I was able to manage three junior interns.
          Nathan: Oh, that's quite a lot experience for you. So, how did it go?
          Taous: I loved it. Now I'm a hundred percent sure that I want to be people leader in a busy operations group which brings me to the present two years later and my first question.
          Nathan: Ok.

Step 3. The Great Discussion

Key Questions 1-3
          Taous: So your LinkedIn profile mentions that you worked in marketing after receiving your MBA.
          Nathan: Yes

          Taous: And then you had a few other experiences before becoming a general manager of a small foods group. So, I'm curious as to what your path was like that led you here?
          Nathan: You mean like maybe the steps that I took?
          Taous: Sure, whether there were more choices or was it by promotion?
          Nathan: I guess it was little bit of both. There are few different paths that you can take to get to a general manager position. The more traditional ones gonna be sales, marketing, maybe finance. There is actually quite a few different ways to get there. I think the most important thing to do is gaining expertise in all of those areas. Your role as a general manager is to oversee day to day operations essentially the entire organization.

          Taous: How did you transition into having experience in all those different areas?
          Nathan: Well that goes back to the initiative, at that time the marketing division worked really closer to sales division. And there is an opportunity that popped up I applied, I kind of jumped over it. After that though I think I sort of realized that these things don't really kind of fall into your lap. And then I tried to create opportunities for myself, I went out and started to meeting a hall bench of people both internally and externally. And they got an understanding of my background. They got a better idea of how I fit into things and then I got a lot of more attraction that way.
          Taous: Ok, I see. That makes sense. So I should really learn how to articulate my background well.
          Nathan: Oh yes. No question about it. You should have a different resume for each thing that you apply for. And it's sort of tailored for each one of those experiences. The idea is the same you wanna be able to talk about your background in a way that allows them to, kind of put the pieces together in a way that the way they are not able do just by they are looking at your resume.
          Taous: OK, that is very helpful. Did you find that also helps with your networking as well?
          Nathan: Oh, no question about it. I mean it definitely helped with the interviewing but if I hadn't been doing my networking I don't think I would actually be here talking to you.

          Taous: That leads to my third question which is 'What is the skill that makes you so good at your work?'
          Nathan: I think it is a skill that all really good leaders have is the ability to make relationships. I mean I have a really good business acumen, I have a lot of experience but to be honest with you if you don't have really healthy working relationships with your colleagues there is not as much value to your expertise.
          Taous: Anything else besides relationships?
          Nathan: I would mention technical skills, that's gonna be important. But I think what all really goods leaders share is their knowledge. They are constantly absorbing more. They are constantly educating themselves and staying on top of trends and technology and leadership development and what have you. And especially a in role like a general manager position or in operations there is so much to keep a track of. So educating yourself and informing yourself.

Key Questions 4-5

          Taous: Thank you. That's great. That's really all I have for now. Do you know anyone who might be a finance professional in foods that I can talk to?
          Nathan: Two people, first person is Jenny Trexler and second person is a gentlemen by the name of Sam Grayver. But I don't have any of their information with me right now. But if you follow-up with me after this I can send it to you.
          Taous: Perfect!
          Nathan: Cool...So but can...I maybe give you an idea who else to network with, besides the people in your chosen area ?
          Taous: Of course!
          Nathan: Really consider networking with your peer group. I sort of made a mistake coming out of my MBA program and I was a little hyper focused on meeting with executives and all the people that I thought were going to be the best contacts than more important people. I did myself a disservice by not networking with people who were just head of me and getting an idea what it was all about. Is that make sense?
          Taous: Sure...So you mean other grads.
          Nathan: Yeah...other grades, other people who may be just two years ahead of you. They got two years ahead of you, experienced to give you an idea of what it looks like.
          Taous: That make sense. So someone who recently graduated would have more relevant experience for me than someone who's an experiences professional and hasn't had to go through a job search in some time.
          Nathan: Right, time is changing and it is different than it will look like than and it is gonna be like that going forward and asking your contemporaries and the people who are in your peer group. It will give you that kind of insight. Networking with executives and experienced professionals like me will definitely give you career insight but your peer group will give you the job search insight.

          Taous: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I want to be sensitive to your time. Just one last thing: Is there anything I can do to help you?
          Nathan: I wasn't expecting that question. I can't think of anything but I would love to stay in touch.
          Taous: Absolutely, that will be great. I would like to show you my gratitude for taking time to meet with me.

4. The Great Ending
          Taous: This is an article written by Johnston Brown who is VP of Marketing at Vivitech. He has been one of my mentors in my MBA program. It is an article about the importance of relationships in the workplace. If you find the article interesting, I would be happy to connect the two of you.
          Nathan: I would love that! Thank you.

5. The Great Follow-Up
          Taous: So I will send you a follow-up email to get Jenny and Sam's information. Also, I will send an introductory email to you and Johnston.
          Nathan: That is perfect. Thank you very much. Please stay in touch. If I can answer any questions, just send me an email, and we'll get on the phone.
          Taous: Wonderful. Thank you so much Nathan. This has been so helpful, and I feel like I will have a lot more confidence in what I am doing.
          Nathan: I am glad to know that. Please stay in touch and let me know what is going on. If you have any questions just let me know.
          Taous: Ok, wonderful.

        SUMMARY: Foundational Principles of Networking

  • People and relationships are the foundation of networking

  • Reciprocity is key to building trust with others. Always try to give back. It is what is going to make others to remember you and think of you professionally.

Expert BIO
with Nathan Perez

Nathan is an award-winning author, executive search professional responsible for the "Where-and-How-To-Find qualified candidates" strategies for national search engagements and career consulting.

Nathan works with candidates themselves, helping them deconstruct and reconstruct entire career-histories and Resumes, and building candidates'' online LinkedIn presence from a hiring perspective. He is a frequent speaker on Networking and Using LinkedIn to Bring the Job Hunt to You.

Co-creator and co-author of the acclaimed and award-winning The 20-Minute Networking Meeting with Dr. Marcia Ballinger, Nathan combines job-search and networking in his career-coaching practice.