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What I Wish I Knew About Networking - Q&A with Career Coach, Trusted Advisor Dominique Henderson

Our November Forum, “What I Wish I’d Known About Networking,” featured industry experts that shared their experiences and some helpful tips for both students and career changers about networking. Dominique Henderson, a trusted coach, advisor, and host of the podcast, “Conversations for Financial Professionals,” served as the moderator in our forum. Additionally, he’s shared some of his own tips for networking in this Q&A.

What is your best tip for networking with others in the industry?

Come to a networking event with informed curiosity. Check out their website and do some research so you know who the CEO is, and some of the faces of the people that work there. Come prepared with good, smart questions based on what you have learned about the company.

What are your social media best practices for someone looking to network online?

This idea of reciprocal engagement. Instead of going to a social media platform and looking at it as a one-way street, take the opportunity to share someone’s post or leave a meaningful comment. Don’t just give it a thumbs up, but actually put something thoughtful there. Social media is built for community, so think of it in the same way we would engage in-person. Building relationships in a digital world still takes time and effort.

After you’ve introduced yourself — whether online or in person — and started building that relationship, you can ask the person if they wouldn’t mind emailing with you, for more personal conversations outside of social media.

What are some ways students can approach networking if they’re not sure what practice area they want to focus on after graduation?

Whether you’re a student or someone looking to switch careers, consider your transferable skills. It could be your emotional intelligence, ability to de-escalate conflict, active listening — all of those things are going to be usable in wealth management, especially if you’re client-facing.

Sometimes money evokes emotions and you go down different paths. Don’t be shy about your story or the skills you’ve learned in other spaces because it could be useful in the industry. If you’re confident about why you want to go into the industry, it will lead you to a who, and that will get you to your how.

How can people best prepare for a networking event?

Probably the thing that gets people hung up, especially if they’re shy or introverted, is just getting started. The most difficult part can be working up the nerve to attend one of these events and leave an impact. There’s several ways to prepare, but think about what podcasts you’re listening to, what books you’re reading, or what trade organizations you’re a part of (even at a student level) that you can talk to others about. There’s so many things you can do to leverage your time in a way that’s going to benefit you. You can be pretty strategic about your approach.

Dominique Henderson is a thought leader in the financial services industry. His personal mission statement is: R.E.A.L. financial advice has the ability to change family trees, and everyone deserves an opportunity to change their family tree.

As a Certified Financial Planner™, coach, speaker, podcaster and author, Dominique works to help people to get “unstuck” in their finances and careers so that they can be the best version of themselves. When not serving his clients you can find him enjoying a glass of wine, traveling with his wife, or spending time with friends. 

If you missed it, you can watch the “What I Wish I Knew About Networking” forum and other recorded events in our Resource Library