Networking Frenzy

Now that my energy levels have returned to normal post-sickness (no mid-day nap needed), I am ramping up the job hunt like nobody’s business. Seriously. Four info interview requests (mostly to strangers) every week. Plus tech meetups. Followups. Webinars. Occasional ranch work tracking shit down (it’s starting to annoy me)… It’s pretty non stop, but I find it quite energizing. With all this outreach, does this mean I really am an extrovert? I dunno. I do have a way of turning goals into games…

It’s pretty funny, because on my coaching call last week, I was telling A how I sometimes feel really discouraged and dejected when strangers don’t respond to my requests for info interviews. I would spend all this time scouring LinkedIn for interesting people/companies, then I would research them, and try my best to draft a compelling email. I mean, at its essence, each request is basically a message of: I think you’re really cool. You’re working on amazing things. Do you want to be my friend and meet for coffee? Right? That’s pretty much the gist. So when no one replies, it’s like not being picked to join someone’s team in PE class. You know? I was also telling A that, even though I was reading all this job hunting advice about trying to contact hiring managers directly, I felt a little embarrassed aiming for the higher ups– people with real decision-making power. They might be really busy people, and who am I? Some nobody asking them to spend 30 minutes or an hour of their time? If, for example, I picture John’s face in place of these people, there’s no fucking way! His office is so chaotic and stressful. He doesn’t make time for strangers, right? So I was mostly reaching out to mid-level, non-supervisory people. I mean, they have all been super helpful still in providing information about culture and interview processes and things like that but… they are also less likely to be in a position where they can say, “Hey, this person is cool. We should work together.” Or, “I know someone she could work well with at XYZ company.” After hearing this, my coach reiterated that I indeed have a confidence issue. So, I was advised to write down every single accomplishment that came to mind from high school til now. She insisted that once I looked over my lengthy list, I would realize that I can talk to these people intelligently, and that I do have valuable knowledge and insights to offer.

So like a total nerd, I started the assignment. And though it’s a work in progress, I came up with only ten accomplishments for each phase: high school, college, grad school. Don’t you love how I break down my life into academic periods rather than say, 20s and 30s or even geographic locations? Needless to say, the list wasn’t helping. Hmph!

Then last Thursday, I boarded the plane to PHX. And holy shit, the craziest thing happened. I sat next to this guy in the front row. He helped me cram my uke and bag into the overhead bin. He just said a few things to me, but his tone was really friendly. He asked about the uke, and I answered briefly. Then, I posed this scenario to myself as I sat there next to him. I could A) respond as minimally as possible, which is my typical MO, and withdraw to myself, i.e. put on my headphones or B) I could share a bit more than usual and see where the conversation might go. So for the last year, I’ve been essentially studying all these things related to communications: social psychology, social intelligence, leadership, relationships, body language, positive thinking, going beyond the comfort zone for personal growth, blah, blah, right? A ton of “hippy dippy” stuff as John calls it. In that moment, I recalled a few of the info interviews where people admitted that they had actually scored their current jobs serendipitously. So I picked option B. Long story short, we had a lot to talk about from ukulele to music to serving on nonprofit boards to leadership development to communications to startups… Funny thing, he regularly travels to MD, FL, and lives in CA. I grew up in MD, went to grad school in FL, and now live in CA. Kinda weird, right? We chatted the whole time, and he was really engaging. I got his contact info, and then later, when we connected on LinkedIn, I saw that he had over 500 connections. Who does that?!?! We’re going to have lunch next week, and already I’ve joked that I may never need to interview for a job again, if he hooks me up with his LinkedIn connections…

In other exciting news, I had my first interview in over six years yesterday– a government agency social media job. Of course, I studied up beforehand, and then I set several  intentions to stay calm, to speak more slowly, and to frickin’ calm the fuck down. To my surprise, I actually rocked the interview. Shiit! I mean, in retrospect, there were still some areas where I could have responded better, BUT there were 5 panelists, 8 questions, and only 30 minutes for everything, so given the situation, I was super pleased!! Yay. And today, I found out that they were pretty pleased also: I got called back for round 2 next week! Yeehaw!! The agency definitely seems like a cool place to work: their tech work is pretty adventurous and cutting edge, and there’s a sizable team of social media/digital communications players, which demonstrates some decent buy-in. That said, the position offers NO benefits, and it’s only budgeted for one year with the possibility for renewal…  eh, we’ll see what happens.

I also scored several bites with my info interview requests to strangers last week!! I know, I’m on a roll!! I think I am fine-tuning my ask to something pretty polished, because my yes rates are high! So I have an info interview tomorrow on Sustainability work at Intuit, a meeting next week with Salesforce Foundation, and a yet unscheduled meeting with a tech consulting firm. The universe is answering me, right?? Pretty exciting!

2 Responses to Networking Frenzy

  1. […] that slightly more positive note, I was happy to hear from my friend L the other day. He hadn’t heard from me in a while and checked in with well wishes for the […]

  2. […] the good. I had dinner with my friend L several weeks ago. Quite honestly, he is one of the nicest people I know. And to think we met on […]

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