Skip to main content
12 answers
15
Asked 621 views

What is the best way to network in consulting?

Is it best to set up a zoom or meet for coffee? Do most consultants respond to cold emails or should I try to connect with them on LinkedIn?

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

15

12 answers


1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Wally’s Answer

Hi Mei Lin,

I also think LinkedIn can be a great tool, when using LinkedIn and reaching out to people, try to filter by people you might have a mutual connection with; for instance maybe someone who went to your school or has a shared interest. Once I find someone on LinkedIn, I usually cold email them, personalizing that email based on the similarities I found on their LinkedIn profile and things I want to learn from them specifically. For the most part, companies follow the email format [firstname.lastname @ company . com], but this might vary, do some online research.

In the email, I'd introduce myself briefly and then offer some times I am available (during business hours), saying I'd love to speak either over phone call or zoom.

I wouldn't recommend sending a LinkedIn connection request cold, since that person likely has no reason to accept it. However, they might be inclined to accept after you send them an email and have a conversation.

Best,
Wally
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Aaron’s Answer

Hi Mei Lin, great question! Networking is one of the most important skills any career-minded professional can pursue. Networking and the people you know will open so many new doors for you down the road. Networking is an ongoing process, and requires time, effort, and dedication. It should not be done only when you need a new job or need something. If you are looking at networking in the consulting industry, I recommend using LinkedIn as a close friend. Do a quick searching for Consulting or any big name consulting companies like Deloitte, PwC, etc. and see if any of the professionals have a '2nd' next to their name. That means you have a mutual connection with that person. If you are confident enough to reach out the person, do that! Otherwise, reach out to your mutual connection and ask them to break the ice for you. Best of luck networking and reach out if I can support in any way!
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Fang’s Answer

Be comfortable with uncomfortable. Try different approaches - attend webinars, commenting on podcasts, attend in-person events, and yes, you can reach out to people on LinkedIn. Also understand networking is a numbers game: be direct with clear intentions when reaching out, but know that not everyone may have the time or at the time you reached out to respond.

When people do agree to connect, bring perspective and come prepared, and try to make the discussion mutually beneficial. Final piece of advice: be assertive, be curious, and don't be afraid to ask questions. These are critical skills that will also help you prepare for a career in consulting.

Whether you’re starting college or finishing up your studies, Access Your Potential Career Readiness and Digital Skills curricula are available to help you grow and discover what you want for your career. Sign up to have access to these free programs and more at Access Your Potential website.

Fang recommends the following next steps:

accessyourpotential.pwc.com
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

David’s Answer

Absolutely leverage LinkedIn! People are receptive to hearing from folks, especially up-and-comers. Even if you meet virtually, your experience will be worthwhile.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Gailene’s Answer

All great answers! Additionally, I would recommend attending seminars and conferences hosted by local organizations related to the industry that interests you. I found that its helpful to join a professional organization and attended chapter meetings and events either virtually or in person, where you can connect with folks. For example, I attended conferences hosted by the AICPA and ACFE because I was interested in financial accounting fraud, and there were more than enough people willing to tell me about their background and jobs. Building these connections can potentially help you get into the role you would like because people are then more willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf.

Hope this helps!

Gailene
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Ananth’s Answer

Hi Mei Lin,

I see there's a lot of great answers here and inputs from different people and backgrounds. I thought of sharing some insights and add to the above points. There's no one single effective technique for consulting, often it is combination of things- connecting with professionals, alumni and experts in-person during career fairs, seminars etc writing a cold message, email to get acquainted with the person if you can't meet them further adding them on LinkedIn with personalized note, connecting them over call and meeting them for a coffee sort of naturally building the personal rapport. Even If you don't end up meeting the specific person they might able to help you with an introduction to the person closely aligning your domain.

Networking is all about value addition and does not end when your needs are met, it has more to do with relationship building by getting to know in depth- their career path, interests, passion, etc...and sharing relevant thoughtful articles, videos, discussing doubts or concerns and even helping in any way possible if you could.

Further I would point to this book for further reading, this helped me during college with networking:
https://www.academia.edu/35444123/Chris_Haroun_Networking_Book

I wish you all the best!
Ananth
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Molly’s Answer

Hi Mei Lin,

It looks like you've already gotten some great answers to your question. I would also say that there are still a lot of virtual conferences or webinars happening where you are able to attend for free, or low cost. They always have networking options running in the chats or within another page. You could connect with the speakers on LI, and mention in your message that you saw them speak at xxx. Or you can connect with other attendees and again, mention that you were an attendee as well.

Best of luck!

Molly
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Jessica’s Answer

Hi Mei Lin,
LinkedIn is great tool to use for what you're trying to accomplish. When linking or sending a message, try to:
1. Be crystal clear with your ask (i.e. I'm looking to gain insight in the consulting field to see if I want to pursue this as a career)
2. Make it a lot about them. This is your chance to ask questions and listen (almost like a student and a professor). Plus, most people like talking about themselves and their journey.
3. Give them a timeframe and stick to it - leave it up to them if they want to meet in person or for coffee - either way, only take 20-30 minutes of their time.
And then:
4. If they say yes (yay!) prepare some questions ahead of time (i.e. what's a typical day look like? what did you major in during college? do you need a graduate level degree for this work? how did you land your first job? what do you like/don't you like about the position? etc.)
5. Lastly, if you had a great conversation, and the contact was open and happy to chat, you may want to ask "do you know anyone else in your network that would be willing to talk with me?" and that's how you grow your circle!
Good luck!
Jessica
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

M. Elysia’s Answer

To offer additional insight, there are many ways to reach out to schedule an informational meeting: look for some industry-specific professional organizations for contacts and send a LinkedIn request from that list. Be direct in your initial reach out about why you would like 15 minutes with them and provide a link to your calendar availability through an app like Calendly.

Here are some specific tips for reaching out to people on LinkedIn:Personalize your message: When sending a connection request or a message on LinkedIn, be sure to personalize it to the recipient. Mention something you have in common, such as a shared interest or experience, or reference something specific from their profile or recent activity. Be clear and concise: Keep your message short and to the point. Be clear about why you are reaching out and what you hope to gain from the connection.

M. Elysia recommends the following next steps:

Explore on Access Your Potential’s site potential career opportunities like internships and paid consulting externships for nonprofits. Sign up to have access to these free programs and more at accessyourpotential.pwc.com
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Milinda’s Answer

Networking is key to understand if you are a fit for the company and if you will truly enjoy and thrive working in the prospective company. I would recommend reaching out to your target consulting firm employees via LinkedIn. Look for those individuals who are in roles that you have interest in. The likelihood you won't receive response is slim as most people would love to make new connections and find new talented individuals like yourself to work with! On the networking calls, try to glean as much information about various roles and opportunities at the firm, the work culture and what a day in a consultant's life looks like. Goodluck in your pursuits!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Samantha M’s Answer

I get the impression that all you need to do is execute what you already know to be true! In other words, everything mentioned above will be to your advantage. Simply ask them what they would prefer—whether it be a face-to-face meeting, a phone call, or being visible on a zoom call—as everyone has a slightly different preference. Be specific about why you are contacting them and why you want to talk to them more. Giving them the choice of how to chat with you demonstrates your respect for both their time and who they are as a person. Even though the request to speak with this person further is primarily directed at you and how you can benefit from it, giving them choices and treating them with respect in this way makes them feel as though it's not all about you and what you want.

Even though it might initially seem to be for your benefit or to be about you, ultimately you need them, so the focus should really be on them as well as on you.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

John’s Answer

As you point out in your question, many professionals may not respond to cold calls/messages. Especially in this day and age there is so much spam, it can be difficult to differentiate real people from phishing bots. I think the best method to network is events, if you're in college, I think the best place to start would be a career fair. However, there are many other types of professional events, I would recommend looking into various events or conventions in your area where you think you could meet professionals in the industry you're interested in.
0