I have been working out of a hotel since October; so needless to say, I spend a lot of time at the local Coffee Bean. While at first this was a simple way to escape the confines of a 250 square foot hotel room, it has become an adventure every day, full of networking opportunities.
I have met fellow young careerists, child therapists, entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical salespeople, and even a cat psychic (only in Los Angeles…)
Although I was pretty impressed with the cat psychic (he Skyped with kittens)… I have always thought entrepreneurs are the one of the interesting group of people to speak with; one I met this week was particularly compelling…
I spotted this entrepreneur easily. He was forty-something and actively engaged with his iPad, iPhone, and laptop. I had a hunch he would be someone interesting to connect with. So I sat at down at his table, and when he ended the phone call where he was discussing raising capital for a startup (yes, I was rudely listening) – I asked him what he did for a living.
Luckily for me, he was the founder of said startup, so he was very excited to talk about his new venture. My curiosity in his business quickly turned into a legit, no holds-barred, coffee shop interview. He asked me to give him examples of when I’d “made things happen,” and wanted to know my work history. He grilled me about the “true meaning of marketing” and shared stories from his time as an advertising executive.
We swapped contact information, and he went on his way to becoming a millionaire.
Long story short, and moral of the story: Always being ready to network!
Spontaneous networking can be a huge advantage in your job search. I’ve been told countless times to work at coffee shops; turns out that advice really does pay off. Just having this man’s contact information is great for me. I’m a better networker from the experience – and who knows where this conversation may lead!
If you’re in the job hunt, pack up your laptop – and find somewhere new to work! Coffee shops, diners and dives, hotel lobbies, a warm spot in the winter or a park in the summer… all have huge potential to positively impact your sphere of influence – and help you perfect your networking techniques.
Have your Moo cards and elevator pitch ready; you never know who’s buried behind their laptop that could be a really important connection. (Oh, and you may want to wear something a bit more formal than ripped jeans and a belly shirt – just sayin’.)
About the Author: Erica Roberts graduated from Oregon State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Marketing. She is an avid reader and writer, and is extremely passionate about social media. Erica currently holds several part time marketing positions, including a social media internship with YouTern, and is searching for a full time career. Connect with Erica on LinkedIn and Twitter.