Sometimes a passive job search can quickly accelerate into an active job search. Even if you weren’t expecting it, you should still be prepared for it. Consider the following example.
You are interested in learning about different industries and casually exploring future possibilities for your career. Networking is a great way to learn about new industries. You conduct a series of informal conversations and interviews with people on a particular industry or topic. One particular conversation turns into a 1/2 hour of interview questions followed by an offer to pass your resume on to a hiring manager if you can send your resume the next day. Whoa! What just happened?
Sometimes just taking the step to setup this type of meeting can start the ball rolling faster than you were prepared for. If you setup a meeting, phone call or even an email to ask for an individual’s opinion or a way to get connected, you need to be ready to take action on the information they give you. For example, they may offer to introduce you to another colleague, send your resume to a friend, or even bring you in the next day for an interview. These are definitely things to consider before making even a casual contact. Are you ready in case your casual conversation turns into a more active job search? You want to make the most out of this contact you are making. Being prepared in advance will help you utilize this energy.
Before you make contact for a networking meeting, think through the paths the conversation could take:
- Is your resume up to date?
- Are you ready to answer ‘interview type’ questions?
- Have you done research in the area you are seeking to learn about?
Does every contact you make result in an immediate action you need to take? No. However, if you start to prepare now it may tell you:
- How serious you are about making a move?
- How interested you are in this particular industry?
- Which of your skills match this new job/industry?
What if you want to take it slow? That’s fine, but make sure to set those expectations with your contact up front. You don’t want them to take action if you aren’t ready to capitalize on it.