One way I have kept a very active schedule since early June is to go to many networking events. It makes sense from the standpoint that networking is the primary way to get a job, but it also serves other purposes, part of which I expanded on recently. One purpose that can’t be underestimated is one that was further reinforced at one of them earlier on Wednesday.
At the Westford Job Seekers, which I attended for the first time, the presentation was an overview of the job search with an emphasis on interviewing. A brief amount of time was spent on the resume, but most of Tom Falzareno’s talk was about the interview process. He wonderfully interspersed humor with good advice, some of which I think we all know intellectually but need reminders of from time to time.
As the presentation wore on, Tom noted how positive the group was, and I nodded in agreement. In fact, I think there’s more positive energy than many imagine in a lot of the networking events I go whose audience is solely people in transition. But this group of people stood out, and it was clear to Tom, enough so that he mentioned it a couple of times.
It’s easy to get discouraged during a job search. You’ve lost your job and now you have a blank slate. When you wake up in the morning, instead of going to work, your day is wide open for you to do anything. There isn’t a built-in game plan. Add in that rarely does one find a new job quickly, as well as an interview that goes well but doesn’t lead to an offer, and it’s not the best of times. Your confidence will be challenged.
It’s not unlike a sports team. You play a game, you work hard, but you lose the game, and that doesn’t feel good. The other team might just be more talented and/or experienced, but losing the game hurts all the same. That might happen a few more times, perhaps even within a short stretch, and most of the time you lose to teams that are just better than you are. All the same, losing hurts, and at some point confidence can become an issue.
The reality is the same with getting rejected by prospective employers, whether it happens without even getting a callback to acknowledge an application or resume or going all the way through the process, feeling like you interviewed well but not getting the job after all.
This is where being around positive people helps immensely. It’s often been said that one should rid themselves of negative people as fast as possible, and that’s perhaps doubly the case at a time like this. Being around solid professionals on a regular basis goes a long way towards helping in that regard. If you’re also around such people in your field, it’s better, because you can feel like you’re in a good workplace once again.
With my active schedule, I have been consistently around other professionals, both employed as well as in transition. Some gatherings have been with people in my field, some with people from many professions, but all have the benefit of surrounding me with professionals I can talk to about what I do. I can feel like I’m in my element, and remind myself why I do what I do.
Ultimately, this as much as anything is a big benefit of networking. It’s also a big reason to keep active while in a job search in the sense of being around other professionals on a regular basis.