In addition to a place where people go shortly after losing their jobs, Starbucks is networking central these days. The 11am Tuesday latte, previously dominated by soccer mommies and retired folk, has become prime networking territory for would-be entrepreneurs and employees. Almost every conversation I inadvertently eavesdrop upon is an elevator pitch or an informational interview.
As I’ve argued earlier, putting yourself out there where you can bump into new opportunities is definitely a recipe for success. It didn’t take people long to realize that the best way to find a new job is to get out there and meet new people. It’s been inspiring to see people respond to adversity by meeting strangers for coffee, mining their alumni databases for contacts, or attending professional networking events such as the NY-Tech Meetup or Meet at the Apartment (both are very cool events which I attend whenever I can). Jobs availability may be at an all time low but my unscientific survey tells me that labour market efficiency is on the rise.
Unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion that most people will stop networking as soon as they procure employment. Focused intently on their new jobs, staying connected will take a back seat to immediate tasks.
This is a mistake. In fact, at today’s Meet at the Apartment event, Allison Hemming, co-founder of The Hired Guns, brought up the point that people should always be networking, whether they are employed or not. Being well networked can not only help you do better in your current position, but it can help you find a new job faster if you happen to get laid off.
Savvy companies increase their marketing spend during hard economic times to gain share. Marketing during recessions is not only cheap (less competition) but more effective because everyone else is cutting their budgets (less noise). Similarly, savvy individuals continually connect to relevant people whether or not they have an immediate need to ensure that their voices will be heard above the crowd when it counts. Successful people make meeting new and relevant people part of their routine.
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