For job-hunters in the GTA, the summer is a terrific time to unofficially network. This type of networking can happen anywhere, while having a coffee on a Starbucks patio in the evening, at the beach, or at the park. What starts off as small talk with a stranger about the baseball game or last night’s storm can turn into a possible lead for a job.
At The Bagg Group, we think it’s great that job-hunters pounce on even the slightest opportunity to make a potentially useful contact.
With 40 years as a leader in the recruitment business, we have a lot of experience in how to network. We know know that when it comes to a chance encounter, the key is to remain easy-going. Being too aggressive in your pounce can backfire.
The person with a briefcase in line ahead of you at the ice-cream store isn’t necessarily prepared to take home your resume just because you recommended the chocolate mint chip.
That said, it’s true that you just never know who may be looking for someone with your skills and expertise. So how do you take advantage of summer’s many opportunities for casual chit-chat to self-promote?
The masterful networkers at The Bagg Group offer these tips:
- Relax. Start making small talk without an agenda. Don’t put pressure on yourself to turn every minute of every single encounter into a job hunt. There are times when you sell best by not feeling you have to sell at all.
- Tell what you do before asking the other person about their work. In this way, the information gathering is an exchange, not an intrusive question. “I’m in sales, by the way. How about you?” will prompt a friendlier interaction than if you just ask, bluntly, out of the blue, “What is it you do?”
Remember, you have a work specialty even if you are not working at the moment. You’re a supply chain specialist, a programmer, a financial analyst, a receptionist, etc., whether or not you are currently employed.
- Put your job search in a positive light. When shooting the breeze casually with someone you just met, keep the mood light and upbeat.
If you say something like, “This is a really exciting summer for me, I’m looking at getting a new job,” people will typically be happy to ask about your plans as they sip on their chillers. But, if you introduce a dark cloud with a line such as, “I’m nervous about finding work. I’ve been looking for months with no luck,” ” they will likely give you with a sympathetic, “That’s too bad” before making a get-away to the sunny side of the patio.
The Bagg Group has successfully placed thousands of candidates over the years in full-time employment, contract work and temporary placements. And many of The Bagg Group recruiters have made valuable unexpected contacts while at a summer festival, a garden centre, or at the community pool. Sometimes, the best thing you can do in summer is take a break, go outside, and engage in a little easy-going small talk.