“I Gave Speed-Networking a Try”
The job she landed: Human-resources and payroll-benefits coordinator.
How she did it: Following a year of unemployment, Meryl snagged a job, thanks to 30 bucks and a few hours in a bar. After nearly two decades as the benefits manager for the National Basketball Association, in New York City, Meryl, 54, was laid off in the fall of 2008. Traditional job hunting turned up nothing, so a fellow unemployed friend suggested that they check out a high-speed–networking event (sponsored by Networking for Professionals, a local organization), in which 30 or so businesspeople meet clients, one-on-one, for five minutes at a time. Shortly after the function began, Meryl met Shannon Walker, manager of board relations and stewardship for the nonprofit organization Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. “I noticed her friendliness, determination, and extensive experience,” says Walker. She forwarded Meryl’s résumé to her boss, and just over a month later Meryl was employed once again. “Everyone else at the event had a job and was selling a product, but I didn’t feel out of place,” says Meryl. “I was there to expand my circle and network.”
Make This Strategy Work for You
- Prepare a 15- to 30-second bio beforehand. “Be sure to include your profession and a recent project or accomplishment that you’re proud of,” says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a New York City–based coach with SixFigureStart, a career-coaching firm.
- Hand out business cards printed with your name, phone number, and e-mail address and a generic title of the position you’re looking for, like “marketing executive” or “accountant.”
- Find out what the next step is if you feel you’ve made a connection. Be clear about when you’re going to follow up and whether an e-mail or a phone call is preferred.