|Last week we talked about attending networking events. This week I’m answering a frequently asked question:
Q. “I’ve read about interviewing for information. But after working for many years, I don’t feel comfortable calling up strangers to ask for help.”
A. I would agree with you.
The first edition of What Color Is Your Parachute rolled out over 30 years ago. Millions of people discovered a revolutionary technique known as Interviewing for information.
Ever since, we’ve been getting guidance like, “People are bored in their jobs. They feel flattered when someone calls to ask for information. They’re happy to take fifteen minutes to help.”
Alas, these days people may be bored, but they’re also busy. More and more, you need a referral to get past the gatekeepers.
So I recommend starting with soft networking. Meet strangers in a friendly, low-key setting and you’ll benefit from the principle of Six Degrees of Separation.
(1) Alumni groups. If you attended college (even if you didn’t graduate), your alumni office most likely will share a directory. Even Scrooge-y types like me will return calls from fellow alums who ask about life in Seattle or New Mexico. Don’t forget high school, graduate school and professional groups.
It’s hard to predict where you’ll find success. I recently connected a job seeker with someone in a field where I have no experience, just based on a casual conversation with a neighbor who just found a great job in that field.
(3) Social groups and friends.
Connections get made at dog parks, parties, personal interest groups, cooking classes, and more.
As you use these sources: