Marshall Lichty ’99 helps students rethink the idea of “networking”

Posted on December 6th, 2012 by

Paige Yahnke ’13, Jacque Brunsberg ’81 and Lambda Alpha Nu hosted a Gustie alum who gave a dynamic and sometimes irreverent presentation on re-thinking what “networking” means when looking for a job. Marshall Lichty, an attorney with the law firm Hallberg & McClain in St. Paul, spoke to students at LAN’s member meeting on November 26th. He told students of his own job search experiences and how he has come to understand that “networking” really means “relationship building” over time. “’Networking’ is a meaningless term and we don’t know what to actually do when told to network. I sure didn’t! Let’s talk instead about relationship building,” said Lichty. His experience and research into job placements indicates that 70% of jobs are never posted, so students need to find different ways of getting considered for those jobs.

Relationship building starts by learning what people do in the jobs students eventually want to land. “The way to learn about what people do in their jobs every day is to ASK,” said Lichty. “You learn what jobs might really fire you up, and what jobs you would really hate.” A key insight from the evening’s presentation was the idea of authenticity in relationship building.  “You have to show authentic interest in what people do in their jobs and cultivate a reciprocally valuable relationship. That’s the whole idea of building relationships that hiring managers remember.” He has put his own advice into practice. “From being a sandwich artist at Subway to working at a retail electronics counter to my current law firm position, each job opportunity came from having a relationship I had cultivated over time.”

Lichty stressed the importance of starting early in relationship building, like, that night! He offered tried-and-true techniques that students could work on right away. Posting their resumes on and crafting a complete, interesting profile on LinkedIn were the first actions he recommended students do. Being alert to ways students could be helpful to others was another tip he shared. He also coached students in how to write email communications that would get results and ultimately, some face-to-face meetings with people who might help them find positions. “Making connections that the email recipient knows and values is absolutely critical. No one responds to ‘cold call’ emails” Lichty reminded students.

A final piece of wisdom from Lichty was that there is no substitute for cultivating genuine interest in another person, including how they do their current job and what they would like to be doing. “Mutually earned respect is the foundation of a relationship—it’s not just showing up to an event and getting lucky.”

Lambda Alpha Nu is the business fraternity (co-ed) open to any student who wants to gain valuable information for a career in the business world. LAN is sponsored by the Economics & Management department. Below, Marshall is joined by Kathi Tunheim {Board of Trustees Endowed Chair in Management & Leadership} and Paige Yahnke ’13.


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