Let’s say you are moving to another city – for graduate school, because your spouse already has a new job there, to take care of aging parents, or because you just graduated or want to live in a particular city.
How do you start networking when you don’t know anyone? How do you set up informational meetings when you are not there yet?
Target Companies – Do your research using LinkedIn, Hoover’s, and Google. Check out Vault .com, Salary.com and Glassdoor to compare salaries in the new city. Make a list of companies where you would like to work.
Write Directly – Write a cover letter directly to a real person at each company, preferably someone two levels above you. Give your pitch and say you will be visiting on such and such a date and would like to come in to talk to them for 15 minutes.
Follow Up – Follow up with a phone call before you go on the trip. Follow up again once you arrive in the destination city.
Take the Meeting – Prepare as you would for an interview. Be prepared with your pitch and questions to ask the interviewer. If they are not interested at this time, ask for the names of two other people you can talk to. Show them the list of the companies you have targeted and ask if they know anyone in those companies, or, can they add to the list.
A few years ago my friend’s husband got a job in Chicago, so they had to move from NYC to Chicago. She was an accountant and wanted to find an accounting job in Chicago. Here is the advice I gave her … Do your research. Make a list of companies you want to work for (decide on industry, size of company, type of firm) and write directly to them. Say you are coming to visit for one week (give the dates) and would like to set up an informational meeting. My friend did her research and wrote to ten firms. She followed up with phone calls. One of the firms called her to set up the meeting. She went on several meetings and was offered a job.
Start building your network before you go by contacting your alumni group in that city and your professional association in that city.