Networking is something that can create extremely successful people.
The best way to learn about a field of business, as well as if you would enjoy it and would be a good fit, is to talk to professionals in that space and learn from them. Networking can be an intimidating exercise but it is really invaluable and not as difficult as it seems. Talking to people is something you do every day in medicine and networking can be thought of as talking to an attending about their specialty or learning from a resident about why they are going into a fellowship.
The goals of a networking conversation depend on what stage of the career exploration process you are in. These can include
These fall into two categories; people you know and people you don't know.
Reach out to people you want to contact. The most common way is through email. If you do not have their email address, there are resources online to help you accurately guess the format that their company uses, and from there it only requires their first and/or last name.
The content of an initial contact email should be concise and clear. It should include the following things:
This is one of the most important parts, and can separate a successful networking conversation from an awkward or embarrassing one.
Put your best foot forward during the meeting or call! Dress appropriately or make sure you are in a good calling environment - you want to establish a good first impression. Make sure to be engaging with the person and express genuine interest in what they say.
After a successful meeting or call, it is best to write a thank you email to reinforce a positive experience. Highlighting specific examples of what you learned or valuable aspects of the conversation is a great way to show that you valued the meeting.