Get Hired In Uncertain Times
Last Friday I met a former boss and co-worker for lunch. The three of us chatted over old times at a Thai restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.
In between bites of spicy squid and gulps of iced tea, I realized we were covering valuable ground that could help almost anyone find a new job faster.
So I wrote the following tips on a napkin after the meal. Read on to learn four ways you can turn lunch with an old co-worker into a new job offer …
1) Sharpen your employment goals
When you sit down to eat with a former colleague, the conversation will inevitably turn to work. Be ready to discuss your job search and the position you’re looking for.
A side benefit of talking about something is that it forces you to think more clearly about it. So, the more you discuss your current career goals, the clearer they’ll become in your mind … which helps you achieve them faster.
Tip: Be sure to ask your former co-worker for feedback and advice. You will flatter them and get free guidance counseling at the same time … while enjoying a bite to eat.
2) Get referrals to other hiring managers
Of course, the ideal outcome of any lunch with an old workplace friend is a new job lead. Be ready for this — it happens all the time.
Example: One of my resume writing clients, Kevin C., from St. Paul, Minnesota, struck pay dirt during lunch with a former manager.
Kevin says, “I called an old CEO of mine who I worked for 6 years back. After revisiting what I had done since we worked together, he gave me a list of 10 CEOs and their companies with whom he had customer/vendor relationships. I hit on about the 7th one and was asked to come in for a lunch meeting and interview. After interviewing 3 more times, I was invited to join the team. My new salary represents an increase of 32.5%! I love my new job and make more money than before.”
It’s good to love your new job and get paid more, right?
3) Practice and polish your pitch
Here’s another benefit of lunch with an old boss or co-worker: You can ask them for feedback on your networking pitch.
Your pitch is your 15-20 second “commercial” you use to tell others what kind of job you’re looking for and why employers should call you.
Example: “I’m looking for a position as a customer service manager for a company that wants to add $220,000 in revenue from existing accounts, as I did last year. Who do you know that I should be talking to?”
4) Lightning can strike
It’s one thing to get a job lead during lunch with former colleagues. It’s quite another to get hired back again. But if you left your old boss on good terms, he or she just might ask you to come back.
To illustrate, here’s another example from my client files. When Eric H., a design engineer from Ohio, came to me for a new resume, I suggested he contact his prior managers to ask for letters of recommendation, since those are valuable documents to bring to a job interview.
Four days later, he sent me this email message: “Thanks to you making me call old employers for recommendations, one of them just offered me a great job!”
It turns out that an old boss was looking for someone with Eric’s skills. Since Eric had done good work before — and would have no trouble fitting into the corporate culture — he was offered the new position, right over the phone. It could just as easily been over lunch.