Network...Right Now

It's Spring Break and most folks refuse to think about their job search this week. "This is my time off," is the snide and normal response to a question regarding career pursuits during this precious collegiate event. However, the person you sit by on the airplane, play putt-putt with on the cruise ship or wait in line with at the local dinner hot spot may be the best networking opportunity you will find.

So, remember, have fun, but conduct yourself in such a way that if you do have the opportunity to network with someone, they are excited to meet you, not put off. So...switching from "pick up" lines to are some ideas:

"I'm really enjoying this week of rest before I continue my job search. While I can't believe I graduate in 8 weeks, I'm looking forward to taking my xyz subject matter knowledge into the world of work." (I have heard that many professionals' reaction to college students is similar to the affection they show to puppies and kittens. It is one of care and encouragement. Use it while you have it.)

"What do you do? How did you get started in that industry? What trends do you see developing? What are the major rewards of what you do?" (Find a more extensive list of networking questions here.)

"I've noticed that you are very patient. Is that a skill you use in your line of work? I know I've had to work on my patience as the xyz leader of xyz organization." (fill in your skill of observation and to talk about your strengths)

Let these get your mind churning so that you can start meaningful conversations with the person sitting next to you on the airplane. Ask for business cards and if you can connect with them on LinkedIn. Believe me, they will appreciate this more than you falling asleep and drooling on them.

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