From the moment Kim walked through my door, I knew this was not going to be a typical networking interview. When she called, referred to me by a friend of mine, she said all the right things to persuade me to make time in my busy schedule to meet with this recent college graduate who was trying to expand her network.
During our meeting, she was organized and prepared. She had obviously done her homework, as she knew quite a lot about my business and community involvement. She took notes during our meeting and frequently referred to her list of intelligently prepared questions. Kim never asked the dreaded, dead end question, “Do you know of any jobs or anyone who might be hiring?” As tempting as that question is to ask, the answer is usually, “No.”
Instead Kim asked all the right questions, such as: who would I recommend she try and connect with; what professional associations would be good for her to look into; what books would I recommend she read; and what recommendations did I have for a young woman entering the workforce? These thought-provoking questions resulted in leads, ideas, connections and opportunities that I was able to provide for her.
A few days after our meeting I received a hand-written thank you card from Kim. It was a simple note card, with the words “thank you” printed on the front. I discovered that this was the same thank you card she sent to each person she met with during her journey into the working world.
In her note she thanked me for my time and updated me on the progress she was making on the leads I gave her during our initial meeting. I was so impressed by this gesture that I immediately picked up the telephone and called two of the contacts I recommended to her and personally encouraged them to meet with Kim.
Shortly after we met, I was not surprised to hear that she beat out more experienced candidates to land a wonderful position as director of a new start-up, non-profit organization affiliated with Princeton University. She interviewed with more than 10 people for that job and she wrote an individual thank you note to each and every one of them. Think that made a difference for Kim? I’m willing to bet yes!