In today’s hybrid workplace, the practice of networking is extremely powerful. Networking creates genuine connections and advances careers. It is expected that individuals will network with others to generate professional contacts in the workplace, but the actual act of networking is rarely taught in formal settings, such as in universities or companies.
DLE member Eddie Walter has mastered the process of networking through utilizing informational interviews.
After completing his undergrad at Syracuse University, Eddie started his career in New York City at JP Morgan Chase. He quickly realized that in order to maneuver this huge firm he must start small–by getting to know his colleagues over a cup of coffee.
Eddie started his coffee interviews with a strategy–connecting first with alumni from Syracuse. After all, he anticipated, they shared a common bond. And it worked! He met dozens of colleagues from different levels and departments–all one at a time. And he was always armed with several questions to get the conversations going.
“If I felt like I had an impactful conversation, I would casually ask if they were willing to connect me with another individual, and I just followed that web,” he explains.
From there, a ripple effect unfolded. Eddie’s network was expanding, but more importantly, so was his expertise in the business. These casual coffee meet-ups doubled as informational interviews that allowed Eddie to rapidly connect and advance his career aspirations.
How did Eddie master informational interviews? He offers this checklist to prepare for these conversations.
Conversations allowed Eddie to consider and refine his job options. “The prestigious job titles I thought I wanted actually ended up not being the right fit for me at all,” he explains.
At JP Morgan, Eddie held a corporate analyst position in which he concentrated on internal strategy and project management. Through his informational interviews, he developed a better understanding of his interests, which ultimately were more finance-based. He eventually accepted a position at Jefferies as an investment banking analyst in their not-for-profit healthcare banking sector. “Internal mobility within a firm is something I always look for. I want to be able to follow my interests,” he notes.
Eddie’s method of networking places a direct emphasis on developing soft skills in the workplace, such as communication, adaptability, leadership, etc. He emphasizes, “Your day-to-day roles for your job are important, but the way you fit with the people and team you work with is what will matter in the long run. Individuals must possess technical abilities to perform a job, but their interpersonal skills are what facilitates genuine relationships within the organization.”
Eddie advises that, to develop “soft skills,” you must “stick to your core values and let your personality be seen.”
After almost eight years of working at Jefferies in New York City, Eddie is making a major career move. He has accepted a new role at the global private market firm Partners Group, located in Denver, CO. The position requires his relocation to a completely new environment.
“It is frightening, but it is exciting,” he admits. “I am young and can still take some risks.” He feels confident that this new position aligns closely with his professional and personal aspirations. “I need a good life and work balance. I feel that this position is exactly what I am looking for.”
The DLE community looks forward to continuing to follow along with Eddie’s amazing career journey!