How Coffee Meetings Can Change Your Career
I was recently introduced to the concept of meeting possible future employers for coffee instead of a traditional office setting. I'm glad to report that my first business coffee meeting was a breeze. Honestly, if I had a choice between a traditional interview and a coffee meeting I'd take the latter every time. I got the opportunity to sit down with a director of a local PR company. Once I began talking my nervousness slipped away. I didn’t land a job with the company, but I did get a lot of valuable information that has lead to great paid and non paid opportunities.
Here are my takeaways
You Get to Share Your Full Story
Even the best resume writers can't fit all that you are and have experienced on 1 page. It was nice to answer questions about what I’ve been doing since graduating college and what had to lead me to do it. I got to show off my portfolio and receive immediate feedback.
Ask The Tough Questions
Have you ever been in an interview and wanted to ask a question, but was afraid because you knew a job was weighing in the balance? This is the type of setting to ask those questions. At my meeting I asked how do companies expect for new college grads to have tons of experience without even offering them entry level jobs where they can gain said experience.
Coffee Meetings are Personal and Lead to Endless Possibilities
In traditional interview if you don’t get the job it’s rare that you’ll ever hear or see your interviewees again. What I love about coffee meetings is even if I don’t get a job out of it I am building a relationship. The people I’ve met with may not have given me a job, but they have connected me with more important people, kept me in the loop about relevant events, given free advice and given me the opportunity to work on amazing projects which has put extra money in my wallet and given me martial to add to my portfolio.
You’re Building a Reputation
I was what I called a closet creative. This means only my friends and family knew about my projects. I’m not a competitive person and I have a habit of downplaying my accomplishments because my standards are so high so I would barely mention my past work. But you NEED people in your industry to be familiar with who you are and what you do. This way when events or projects come up they will have you in mind.
You’ll Gain Confidence
As I said the first meeting I was nervous, but as I meet more people I am less afraid. I’ve learned more about business etiquette and how to operate in certain settings. I’m more confident in selling myself without feeling arrogant. No matter what industry you are in these are important skills to possess.
I challenge you to give coffee meetings a try. Even if you aren’t on the current job hunt it pays to know people LITERALLY. Some people that I have met have admitted to getting certain positions because they knew someone who could hook them up prior to the job opening. The saying is true, it’s not always what you know, but who you know that can get you to where you want to b.