Imagine you're at an office supply store or attending a job fair at a hotel. You notice someone wearing a company nametag with the name "Jane" on it. The conversation could go something like this:
You: Good morning, my name is _______________! You work for Company X?
Jane: Yes! My name is Jane Doe.
You: Great to meet you, Jane! What part of Company X do you work in?
Jane: I work in the information technology department, how about you?
You: Actually, I'm very interested in coming to work for company X! I have extensive experience in information technology and I just read an interesting article about your company.
Jane: Tell me a little about yourself.
You: Well, I'm an information technology specialist. I've worked for ________ months/years on a system that...
Jane: You sound like you have some great experience! Company X is always looking for good talent. I'd love to talk more but the meeting is about to start again.
You: Can we exchange business cards? I'd like to meet you for coffee and find out more about Company X. How does next Tuesday at 11:30am sound?
Jane: Sure! Better yet, do you have a resume? I can pass it along to my supervisor who's here today. And sure, we can get together this afternoon if you like. I'll need a break after such a long day in meetings. Give me a call later today.
Remember, most civilian employers pay good money ("finder's fees") to their employees to find talented people like you! (Okay, so the civilian employee may see a dollar sign on your forehead! That's okay as long as you can perform on the job and make them proud that they recommended you.)
This networking approach works well since you have a captive audience that is not going to shut the door in your face. (If you've ever gone door to door handing out resumes and filling out job applications, you know exactly what I mean here.) Meetings are led by managers. Managers do the hiring. Who knows? You might even get an on-the-spot interview! You've got nothing to lose by networking!
Set yourself apart! Hotels make big bucks from companies that hold job fairs. You'll usually find current employees working at these events. Other places frequented by employees such as; hotels, office supply stores, and professional organizations can open up additional high-potential networking contacts for you. Just be sure to carry yourself as a professional if you decide to use this approach. A strong word of caution here: Make it a point to avoid lingering around and causing unwanted attention. Don't intrude or otherwise interrupt the person's schedule. Make sure not to overstay your welcome. Be brief, be blunt, and be gone!
Some people expect jobs to fall out of the sky and into their laps. This face-to-face networking can shorten the time to getting hired. Go to where the jobs are! Your unique approach to networking can result in multiple job offers.
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