The networking game: How to create your own career luck

June 15, 2023
Align your vision. Leverage your network. Startmate CEO Michael Batko.

Every second there are 117 job applications submitted on LinkedIn — a cool 10 million applications every-single-day.

If you’re considering throwing your hat into that ring, it’s going to take a littleee more than just a wicked CV for you to cut through the noise — you’re going to need a strike of luck.

Startmate’s CEO, Michael Batko holds the belief that we can create our own luck. He shared these musings with the current Women Fellowship cohort —

“Luck is like a lightning bolt ⚡.

Unpredictable, powerful and easily missed in the blink of an eye.

For luck to strike, you need to increase your surface area.”

That surface area is your network — and the lightning strikes are the introductions, the coffee catch-ups and the ‘ins’ our network provides us. Put simply, Batko believes lightning strikes help us cut through the noise. 

So, how do you create the perfect storm to grow and leverage your network? Batko broke it down for us, step-by-step.   

  1. Do ‘the work’ — Curate your community
  2. Find your ‘connector’ — Your network is your net worth
  3. Strike an intro — The power of the ‘forwardable’ 

Step 1: Do ‘the work’ — Curate your community

Before you head off on this new-found career adventure, you need to take a look at the map. Where are you headed? Which startup(s) do you want to work for? What role are you interested in?

The answers to these questions will help you to develop a lightning ‘hit-list’ — the startups that you want introductions to. This hit-list will also help you find ‘travel buddies’ — people within the ecosystem to add to your network that can help you along the way.

Here’s a little reflection exercise to get you going. 

Step 2: Find your ‘connector’ — Your network is your net worth

So, you’ve taken a long, hard look at your future career self, developed one hell of a hit-list and now you just need an ‘in’.

Remember that overwhelming LinkedIn stat (*cough* 10 million a day *cough*)?

We want to skip all that nonsense and gain access to the source — the mover-and-shaker within your dream-gig who influences the hiring decisions. This role can take many forms depending on the business stage, it may be the founder, an operations role, an entire talent team, or a department ‘head of’.

Get researching and narrow in on your mover-and-shaker.

We will, from this point forward, refer to this person as your ‘contact’.

Now it’s time to double-down — we need an introduction. This is where finding someone within six-degrees of separation of your dream-gig becomes vital — a travel buddy from within your network who can provide a warm-introduction to your contact. 

We will, from this point forward, refer to this person as your ‘connector’. 

What’s a warm introduction?

The connection of two separate individuals via a mutual contact (your connector), to facilitate a new professional relationship. Unlike cold introductions, a warm introduction leverages the existing relationship to establish trust and increase the likelihood of the mover-and-shaker (your contact) saying ‘yes’ to the introduction.

How exactly do you identify your connector? 

By searching your surface area, of course.

  • LinkedIn — This is why you should always be adding to your network. Search for your contact in LinkedIn, do you have mutual connections (1st degree) with them? If so, congratulations, you have found your connector.

  • Startmate — When you join the Startmate network, you gain access to a community of 3,739-ish startup connectors that you can hit-up directly on Slack (there’s a very good chance someone who works at your dream-gig is online right — now). I’ll just leave this Fellowship sign-up form here.

Step 3: Strike an intro — The power of the ‘forwardable’ 

The startup landscape is built on the foundation of simply ‘taking a chance’ — so it should come as no surprise that people within this landscape apply the same mindset when it comes to their network.

People are happy to be connectors.

However, these same people are also very busy match-making other corporate romances, alongside actual work, meetings and maintaining a life. 

You need to 🤌 make. them. an offer. they can’t. refuse. 🤌 — i.e it is so much easier for someone to help you, when you’ve already done the heavy lifting.

[The forwardable email has entered the chat]

What’s a forwardable?

A forwardable is a perfectly constructed message (written by you) that can easily be forwarded from one recipient (your connector) to another within their network (your contact) — by simply selecting the forward option. It is written clearly and concisely, stating your ‘ask’ and providing both parties with everything they will need (the ask, contact details, resume etc.) to ensure an efficient and effective introduction.

How to write the perfect forwardable email

A beautiful forwardable, is simple, no more than two-paragraphs and it gets-to-the-point early.

First paragraph 

  • Your request upfront — ‘I would love to meet [contact] for a 30 minute coffee to chat about [opportunity]’
  • About you — Tell them about yourself (briefly) and hyperlink your LinkedIn profile 

Second paragraph 

  • Why is it relevant — Why are you interested in that company? Why are you right for that opportunity? 
  • Contact details — These should be in your signature, make sure they can contact you easily

If you’ve followed these steps correctly, your connector will likely hit that forward button, whack a ‘Hi [contact], meet [you] — would love you guys to connect’ at the top of the email, and their job-is-done.

It’s now over to you to get on the front foot and hit up your contact with some suggested times to catch-up.


Best of luck

Cutting through the noise can be intimidating, but Batko reminds us that ‘luck is a process, you have to expose yourself in order to be lucky’. To be lucky, is to be bold, fearless — you need to put in the work.

So, go on, create a little career ✨magic✨ for yourself — after all, what Batko is really asking us to think about is ‘what would you like to be when you grow up?’ and then imploring us to go after it.

We will, from this point forward, refer to him as startup Zeus ⚡.

Finally, don’t forget to thank your connectors, because lightning can (and will) strike twice — if you’re lucky 🤞. 

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Written by
Written by
Penny HollowayPenny Holloway
Penny is a Marketing Lead and Consultant, hanging out in Brand, Strategy and Creative Development. She is also a Women's Fellow in the W23 cohort!

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