Common Ground Networking

Common Ground Networking

Written in collaboration with the UCLA Renewable Energy Association

When you’re networking digitally (i.e., sending emails to young professionals you don’t know), you really need to reach out to people with whom you have common ground.  Common Ground makes you more than a stranger to the person you’re contacting.

I see three specific types of common ground that help  professionals get jobs and internships:

  1. 1st Degree Bridge. There is nothing better than getting an introduction from someone who truly knows you and the person with whom you want to talk; kind of like “Uncle Billy” calling his neighbor the HR person at Tesla.  But, let’s be honest here; most of us don’t have many of these.  Someone you “kind of know” or “know of” (or has this acquaintance-like relationship with your target) does not count.  Therefore, the following common ground is more common.
  2. Alumni. Targeting young professionals who graduated from your school is really smart and regularly given as the reason “I got my foot in the door there.”  School spirit is a strong common ground and can connect two young professionals who just happen to have had similar experiences at the same campus.
  3. Same major. Reaching out to people who have the same major as you is also a primary tactic for getting through to the companies you want to get into.

Find out if your school offers a good alumni data base.  Most schools are weak on this front, but find out what’s there for you.  Linkedin has great data for schools without dedicated databases.  The bad news is that you need to spend some serious time narrowing the field to weed out the people you don’t want to contact versus those you do (young, in renewable energy, from your school or with your major).  But it can be done and the young professionals serious about getting into renewables spend the time to find their common ground targets.

Dayaway now has an entire section, named Everyman, dedicated to helping you quickly find young professionals in renewable energy who graduated from your school or with your major.  Everyman makes Linkedin better, lots better.   It’s free, but you must meet the eligibility criteria to get invited.  Check out Everyman on the Dayaway homepage.

If you liked this article, you may want to read, “Informational Interviews: More Buying, Less Selling