This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want and make a difference in life.
I’m Mac Prichard, founder and publisher of Mac’s List. On today’s bonus episode, we’re sharing exclusive content from Land Your Dream Job Anywhere, our new book that was published February 1, 2017. For 15 years at Mac’s List, we’ve helped people find meaningful, well-paying work in Portland, Oregon, one of the country’s most competitive job markets.
Now, we put all of our best job hunting advice in one new book that can help you no matter where you live. Land Your Dream Job Anywhere also includes advice from many of the national career experts who have appeared on our podcast. Today, we’re sharing one of these features exclusively with you, our podcast listeners.
Here is Nathan Perez, career and job search coach, reading his contribution “The 20-Minute Networking Meeting.” Take it away, Nathan.
Often, when busy professionals receive a request for a networking meeting, time is the deciding factor as to whether or not they accept it. If you want to improve your chances of meeting an important contact, make it clear that you only want twenty minutes of his or her time.
How do you keep your meeting to twenty minutes? By having a very focused agenda and highly specific questions. Vague, broad questions lead to protracted conversations— conversations that demand too much of your contact’s time and probably don’t really help in your job search.
When I meet with job seekers, many of them ask questions such as: “Do you think I should find another job?” That’s a very vague prompt, which requires a whole slew of clarifying questions: What exactly do you mean? Should you go find one now? Should you go find one later? A job in your same line of work, or in a whole different industry? Do you enjoy what you’re doing now? These are the kind of big decisions you need to get clear about on your own before you reach out for informational interviews.
Avoid misusing the valuable time you get in informational interviews. Give your networking contact important context about your background and where you are right at this moment. Then you ask a short set of questions that are targeted and strategic. This requires you to know about your contact’s background and to have some specific idea of how he or she might be able to help you. Remember, you’re tapping into this person’s expertise and knowledge. Always reflect on how you can best leverage this information to further inform your own job search.
Once you’ve prepared, the best thing you can do is listen and be actively engaged in the conversation. Staying present is really key, and that includes being aware of how much time has passed. You don’t want your networking contact being distracted while checking the time.
Preparation and focus allow you to have a really powerful and informative conversation within a very short period of time. Master the art of the twenty minute networking meeting and you’ll quickly build a network that advances your job search.