But while in between gigs, how do you go about maintaining an optimistic persona… especially when you’re asked the No. 1 question at networking events: “What do you do?”
To help you get through your next face-to-face networking journey, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council this question:
“When networking, how can I succinctly explain that I am in between companies?
Here are some of their best answers:
Explain a Positive Past and Optimistic Future
“In one sentence, explain a positive portrayal of your past experience. Transition to one sentence on what you look forward to doing in the future or what opportunities you’re seeking. It’s always important to keep it light and positive.”
“Even if you haven’t solidified your next move yet, prepare a few concrete business or personal development goals that you can rattle off when attending networking events. Basically, you want to sound like you know what you’re doing. The last thing you want is to appear like you are simply drifting from one company to the next.”
Say You’re Looking for Your Next Venture
“The phrase “looking for your next venture” implies a previous success and also implies an amount of choosiness (as opposed to desperation) while getting across the fact that you are not currently working on a project.”
“Rare are those with a clear career path. We fail or simply decide to do something different. If you can articulate with intelligence what brought you to this transition point and where you are trying to go next, then maybe your conversation is about to get interesting.”
Give a Great Elevator Pitch
“In any networking situation, present yourself in an assured, positive way. You knew how to give the elevator pitch for your last gig, so what’s the pitch for where you are going next? What did you learn from your last experience? What is your next goal? Thinking through these things ahead of time will help you network with confidence.”
“Everyone has been in your situation. Networking is all about connecting for new opportunities. Be genuine about your past experience. Others will be grateful if you share something they can learn from or may offer feedback to help your situation. My best advice has been given to me when I needed it most.”
Be Yourself and Listen
“Be yourself, and when in networking situations, make sure you listen and make eye contact. Feel out the person or group you’re talking to. Find ways to present your past experiences when they fit into the conversation. Be positive. There is always something that people can relate to in most conversations. Listen and learn what that is, and you will be fine.”
Say Just That!
“People understand that we sometimes switch projects. To say that you’re in between companies makes people think that you’re still working just as hard as when you are at a company and inspires confidence that you’ll be at a new company soon. When networking, remember that it’s more about the other person and how you make him feel than it is about you.”
“Be proud of your situation. Embrace the lessons learned from each adventure and articulate how it helped shape your current view or developing view. At the end of the day, it is about telling the evolution of you as a brand. Don’t be short, hide it or shut down. Most people are afraid of starting and failing; you have a powerful story to tell.”
About the Author: The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.