Finding the opportunities
If someone invites you out for coffee to discuss a job opportunity, go. Even if you don’t want the job.
Opportunities come along in different ways, in ways you won’t be expecting. You’d be crazy to pass up a chance to find out what jobs are out there, and who’s looking. Maybe the job they want to talk about isn’t for you, but it would work for someone you know. This is a huge, career-building opportunity for you. You get to recommend someone, which endears you to both parties. The importance of being able to make these connections cannot be overstated. Those moments, where you get the chance to help someone out when they need it, are some of the most valuable things in your life, both career-wise and personally.
Don’t expect that people will pay you back for doing them a favour. People can sense that you’re hoping to be owed, and will be cautious of allowing you to have that power over them. Do favours for the sake of them, as often as possible, and good things will happen.
I’m not talking about “karma” or anything metaphysical. I’m talking about the real, tangible effects you can have on the people around you, and the reputation you can build as someone who is always eager to help other people. That’s the sort of person others will want to help in kind.
And, of course, don’t approach every encounter as a chance to sell. A chat over coffee with someone in your industry is a chance to get to know someone, and to make a friend. It’s not the time to be forcing your business card into his or her hand. Desperation, as they say, is a turn off.
No one goes to a party and talks about how much fun that person who had all the business cards was. Don’t be that guy or gal. Be friendly, be helpful, and be interested in others.