Components of a Coffee Chat

Components of a Coffee Chat

Networking can seem intimidating -- especially if you feel like everyone else has a better grasp on it than you! One good way to dip your toes in the water is to participate in coffee chats. 

A coffee chat is a great way to add to your network by creating more personal relationships. For those of you that may not know what a coffee chat is (I know I certainly didn’t before coming to college!), it entails meeting face-to-face or via Zoom with someone who works for a company or within an industry that you find interesting. Not only does a coffee chat allow you to expand your network, but it also provides you with the opportunity to gauge YOUR interest into what a company does. Of course, this also allows you to gain an insider's perspective and potentially an upper hand when applying to internships and jobs – to me, however, a successful coffee chat leaves me feeling like I can now articulate what I like (or don’t like) about a certain company, job, or industry. Navigating the competitive job market can be difficult, so here are some helpful tips for making the most out of your coffee chat experience: 


It's always good to do a little bit of research ahead of time--not only does it show the person you're meeting that you're serious about this opportunity, but it can also help you come up with potential questions for getting more personalized or specific knowledge about the company. 

Additionally, I always like to come with a number of questions prepared ahead of time in case there are any lulls in the conversation. This way, I can make sure that I leave the coffee chat feeling like I have learned new information about the company or industry. 

Another good tip when preparing is to focus on both what YOU want to take away from the experience along with what you want THEM to take away about you. To do this, I find it helpful to map out ahead of time what skills or experiences make you right for the job. 

Even though a coffee chat is not an interview, being able to put your best foot forward during this conversation can set you up for success while connecting with someone in a casual setting. At the end of the day, however, don't forget that this is an opportunity for YOU to learn. Leaving a coffee chat feeling better informed is a great outcome – at the end of the day, THIS is what matters! 


One essential part to a good coffee chat is building a good repertoire with the other person. Even better, creating this mutual comfortability within your interactions can make the person more willing to help you succeed. Suddenly this coffee chat – and any other future interactions – feel like an opportunity rather than a chore. 

An additional helpful tip is to try to find something in common with the person – maybe you both like skiing or going out to eat. Whatever it is, this shared characteristic can give you a way to connect with them and get them to remember you! 


After your coffee chat, it is a great idea to send them a follow-up message thanking them for their time and reiterating what you enjoy about the work they do. Furthermore, it is great to include a specific detail regarding what you discussed so they know not only that the coffee chat had an impact on you, but also that you really were invested in the subject matter discussed.

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