With the semester ending early on campuses and brothers taking classes from home, many SigEps have asked how to keep brothers connected. To meet that need, we’re adding content on SigEp’s Instagram page and holding twice-weekly meetups. These are intended to help you and your members develop now while getting you ready to hit the ground running when in-person classes resume.
Chris Gassman, Colorado ’04, is chief commercialization officer at MAAL Associates, a sustainability consulting firm. He holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon and a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. Brother Gassman has volunteered for five SigEp chapters around the country and resides in New York.
According to Brother Gassman, there are three useful tools that can help you leverage your network to gain your next opportunity. Whether you’re in sales and looking for clients, in search of an internship, or changing careers, it’s important to think systematically about what you want and how your network can help. Each of these tools informs the other, and it’s helpful to think broadly and get more and more specific.
1. Write your “values driver” one-pager.
From outer space…what’s your view of the world? What are the values that drive you? Articulate that to yourself so you can share your values with others. Your values determine how you view and engage with the world. Write down what’s most important to you.
2. Make a “product spec sheet” — for you!
Before you get to your network, look from the airplane level. Where do you make the most sense? How can you best use your talents? What kind of situations set you up for success? Where would you not fit? Make decisions about these questions for your own sake, and to know where you can best leverage yourself.
3. Create a networking one-pager.
Now, drill down to the rooftop level. With your values and your strengths and weaknesses in mind, get specific about what you’re looking for so you know who you need to network with. Think about your ideal industry, organizational culture and job responsibilities. Come up with 5-10 organizations that, based on your research, have these opportunities. You may not know anyone at these organizations, but your contacts might.
Once you know exactly what you’re looking for, ask your network, “Who do you know who’d know someone at these organizations?” Get more feedback and ask for suggestions on other organizations or contacts who might fit with your goals. You’ve now built a clear, actionable networking plan that is based on your self-knowledge and specific goals!