Conversations Are Your Keys To The City

Locked City

Apart from creating your own business and employing yourself, the only way to get a job in the field you love is through networking or an interview.

I'll never forget what it felt like to be a job hunter, convincing myself to attend countless networking events hoping to connect with prospective employers day after day. When I was looking for my first full-time position in HR, it was 2009. Because of the economic crash, I kept meeting HR Managers from Toronto who had been laid off 6 months prior and were now contending for the entry-level positions for which I barely qualified. After more than 12 months of job hunting, I was feeling defeated. Nonetheless, I would speak with as many people as I could, hoping the next conversation would lead to a job or an interview.

After one such event, I remember a gentleman coming up to me. I thought he intended to say good night and wish me well. But rather, wanted to acknowledge that I appeared confident, but humble. Our conversation didn't land me a job, but I'll never forget the feeling that I was able to fool everyone - I appeared more confident than I could believe. The long-term lesson was experiencing the impact of one thoughtful person’s words. He gave me the confidence I needed to keep seeking conversations.

I know what it feels like to search for months, hoping that some cosmic magic will unlock the gates to your next great job.

As you continue your job search, I invite you to be mindful of the following:

Remember that networking is about making connections with like-minded people. Don't expect that one 15 minute conversation will land you the job. Your ongoing interactions and demonstrated experience will lead you towards it.

Keep track of connections and connect with people! Networking isn't about collecting employer baseball cards. In fact, hardcopy business cards can be seen as stodgy. So make your paper collection worthwhile and keep the conversation going.

Meet people with the intention of getting to know them. Be prepared to ask questions and respond to them - that's called a conversation! I've met with countless students where I can see the hunger for employment in their eyes but the words them speak tell me that they're expecting the gift of employment from me. Networking doesn't work that way. I may know someone who may connect you to a great opportunity that may lead to a position. But unless we build a trusting relationship, how would I know your interests and visa versa?

Be mindful of timing, and avoid cyber stalking. Recruiters and hiring managers go on vacation too! They have other responsibilities, and you're not likely the first in line. It's in poor taste to email, call, LinkedIn message and creep their social media. Do you want them to ghost you??

Be mindful that everyone has a purpose. That includes you in this moment. Reflect on what that purpose is. What do you think you're being positioned to learn? Where do you think this experience will lead you? What lessons would you pass onto another job hunter?

You're not living in a locked city. You're just looking for the lock with your name on it - you have the key.

Consider booking time to practice interviewing with a Leading Presence career coach. Let's talk about your networking/interview strategies and role play responses. Let’s find ways to strengthen your communication style. Feedback is the greatest tool to gain the skills required to tell your story clearly.

Best of luck to you!