In this climate, it’s usually a waste of time to send out resumes. They go to people who can’t actually hire you. You want to talk to people who can. Here's what you do when you finally meet them. See Part One here to learn about how to connect with them. When the appointed day arrives, keep the following in mind:
- Your goal is to begin assembling a network, not to ask for a job. You've told the person you're not going to do that, and for this to work, you really must not.
- Every supervisor is always on the lookout for talent. They never know when they will need someone, so you really are of interest to them.
- The ﬁrst thing to understand is that even in times like these, PEOPLE ARE HIRING.
- The feedback you can get from each person will move you closer to a job, even if it's just a little bit, so no matter what, the meeting will be beneﬁcial.
- Ultimately, people are hired as much because someone likes them as because they are qualified.
- Each meeting has the potential to bring you one step closer to a job.
When the meeting starts, begin by thanking the person for his/her time. Then begin by asking questions about their background, how they got to that position, how did they come up with the idea of pet deodorant?
Listen carefully and attentively to all responses, and ask follow-up questions. Ultimately, they are going to turn the table and ask about you. You now have them. Tell them what you DO, not what you DID. Answer every question with enthusiasm and always add a positive spin. They will then ask where you are NOW. You then say: “Currently, I’m in transition and looking for opportunities in the _________ area. Do you know of any?”
This is the hardest question — but after you ask it, they usually start rattling off opportunities, companies, or contacts. Let’s get real — they know the game — but you have taken a real interest in them, they will take an interest in you.
At the end the the time, make sure to thank them for their time, and ﬁnish with something like this: “Thank you. This has been incredibly helpful. I will deﬁnitely [do something they suggested.] Is there anyone else that you would recommend that I talk to?”
Take down any contact information they give you, thank them, and be on your way. When you get home, immediately write (not email) a thank-you note, and in it, mention speciﬁcally one piece of advice that was particularly helpful.
If at all possible (without awkwardness) leave the resume. Remember — it is very important that If you follow this plan and all goes well, at the end of the meeting, you've accomplished the following:
- You've made contact with someone who could, potentially, hire you.
- Your resume is on the desk of someone who could hire you.
- You've made them aware of your qualiﬁcations, and demonstrated that you are professional, motivated, and industrious.
- You've gotten another name of someone you can speak with.
- You've started, from scratch, a network of people who know you--who have seen your face and your qualiﬁcations--and who can advocate for you.
Often, however, you get more than this. Often the person you speak with will either:
- Say they don't have any openings, but they know someone who does, and put you in touch with that person.
- Say they are hoping to hire again soon, and ask that you leave your materials
- Ask if you'd be interested in some part-time work or contract work with the company.
- Start a process by which you can be hired (by asking you to ﬁll out an application, talk to HR, etc.
Sometimes, btw, this happens after they get your thank-you note, since that is such a rare occurrence in today's world.
I want to be clear--this is not a magic potion that will land you a job immediately. But it is a signiﬁcantly better use of your limited job-searching time than sending out resumes to people who have never met you.
It is scary, especially the ﬁrst time you do it, but it really does work. My clients average about 1 job offer for every 5 - 7 meetings.