So you’ve made the scary decision of transitioning careers-congratulations!! It takes guts to chase your dreams and partake in new adventures. They may not always pan out perfectly first time round but to aid you in your quest it is best to BE PREPARED.
A fabulous way to get some insight into your next career, or better yet GET YOU A JOB, is networking. Bear in mind however that this is not a license to go to a party, get trashed, laugh loudly (and phonily) at every lame joke, and come home with a bunch of business cards. Chances are, your overbearing ways will simply turn off a potential employer.
On the flip side, if you are a naturally bubbly, perhaps loud personality that is OK-it’s important to be yourself as people will relate to you more easily. Just read the play and scope out your group, and if you need to tone it down so be it. Some of you may also be a little shyer or even introverted and that’s OK too. This is a big step you are embarking on and being thrust into a room of experts could cause even the most attention-seeking applicant to shrink back.
Here it is important to listen to what is being said, take some time to process what is being said and ask questions if necessary. Do a bit of research before hand so you can hold your own, but also take the event as an opportunity to learn.
A bit of small talk can also be a good way to lighten the mood. OK so maybe don’t start with the state of Brangelina’s marriage (unless it is relevant to the field, in which case go for it!), but scan the paper that day for some interesting headlines, talk about the food or venue you are in, or even go for something more personal like favourite books, movies etc. It’s not Academy Award winning dialogue but it will serve to lighten the mood and warm you up to more important queries.
It’s best also to focus on one conversation at a time of between 2 to 4 people at most. Regaling a room full of people with your theories on life to a group of strangers may come off a little overbearing. Sticking to small groups will increase your chances of making solid foundations and connections.
So the next time you are at an event, strike up a conversation with someone-you never know where it may lead you…