18 Easy Conversation Starters For Networking Events

I think one of the hardest things about networking events is just getting a conversation going with someone – without being awkward about it.

Approaching someone new can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.

So, what are some natural and easy ways to break the ice? Here are some tips and tricks:

Go Fishing At The Food Table

While waiting in line for the food, start chatting up the person next to you. This is a great opportunity to get a conversation started because you already have something in common: the food. Everyone is thinking the same thing, What am I going to try? What looks good?

So, instead of just standing there in silence, start a conversation. Here are a few conversation starters for this situation:

  • “Oh man, everything looks so good… I’m not sure what to get! What are you thinking?”
  • “Yummy, they have ___! Have you ever tried it?”
  • “Hmm, I’m not quite sure what that dish is… do you know?”

Who knows, you might leave the buffet with a better plate of food AND a new contact! That’s a win-win in my book.

Find A Loner

If you see someone standing alone in the corner, clutching his or her drink, and looking miserable, don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself.  Typically, these people need a little help getting the conversation going.

Here are some ice breakers:

  • “Man, these networking events can be so crazy. Mind if I join you over here where it’s a little quieter?”
  • “Wow, there are a ton of people here! The food must be good, huh?”

If someone is standing alone, he or she is probably feeling uncomfortable or unconfident. If you initiate the conversation, it could make them feel more relaxed and willing to connect.

See all 18 starters and the complete article


9 Essential Tips for Older Job Seekers Looking for Their Next Awesome Opportunity

By Stacey Gawronski

While there’s plenty of universal job advice out there, there’s also a good amount of advice geared toward entry-level candidates, people looking to make a career change after five or 10 years in a specific industry, individuals intent on not job-hopping but career-building, entrepreneurs, and the going-back-to-school group.

Sometimes, it can seem as though few are offering legit tips to a group of people with decades of experience. I’m talking about the over-50 crowd. Where’s the specific advice for this group?

I reached out to several of our career coaches for tailored advice for this particular group of professionals, and here’s what they had to say.

1. Think About Where You’re Valued

Try looking at sectors in which age isn’t viewed as a potential liability, but, rather, as an asset. Think about roles, industries, or particular companies at which senior practitioners would likely be highly valued. Could you be a fit for one of these?

Examples of this may be jobs in which the clients are older adults (e.g., caregiver, retirement services, healthcare, and so on), or young people who need the guidance or support of someone with experience and wisdom (e.g., nonprofits that serve underprivileged youth and schools). Brainstorm what roles might leverage your career capital and, at the same time, don’t underestimate the value of your maturity.

Jenny Foss

5. Draw Attention to Your Accomplishments

Unfortunately, ageism exists, but, fortunately, a resume is not meant to list chronologically everything you’ve ever done in your career. Employers are most interested in the results you’ve delivered, especially in the last 10 to 15 years. The goal when crafting your resume should be to create a compelling, results-driven narrative that shares what you’ve accomplished and what you’re capable of today. If you’re concerned about age discrimination, it’s OK to leave the date off of your education, since it’s not relevant to what you bring to the table.

Melody Godfred

See all 9 tips and the complete “The Muse” article


6 Things You Should Never Say In A Job Interview

Elana Lyn Gross

“I’m not so excited about this role…but I have to pay my rent.” “So how much vacation time would I get?” “Honestly? I’m quitting because I hate my boss.” It’s crucial to know what not to say at a job interview because one cringeworthy remark can cost you the job. These statements are instant job interview dealbreakers.

4) I’m Leaving My Job Because The Company Is Toxic:

“Never speak disparagingly about a boss, colleague or company. If you are leaving a stressful or toxic work environment and are asked why you are seeking a new job, there are many things you can say without being negative. For example, you’re seeking a new opportunity because you’d like to be more challenged professionally, learn new skills or work for a larger organization. Companies want to hire positive people, not people who will bring negativity into the workplace.” — Alyssa Gelbard, president and founder of Resume Strategists

6) I Don’t Have Any Questions:

“‘Nope, I don’t have any questions.’ I don’t care if you have talked to thirty people at the company by this interview. If you’re hungry, you should want to know every single detail about the company. To me, not asking a question means that you are not interested enough to have done your research prior to meeting me, and you did not think critically about the interview process as a whole.”  — Liz Wessel, CEO and cofounder of WayUp

See all 6 things and the complete Forbes article

6 Steps to Stop Procrastination When Job Hunting

Stop procrastinating and get back to your job search with these six tips.

You’ve spent the last few months lounging around the house enjoying work-free days. Or maybe you just quit your job and are preparing to transition into something new. Whatever your reasons are for not being employed at the moment, sooner or later you’ll need to find a job.

The problem is, once you’ve enjoyed time off, it gets a little bit harder to start looking for a job. Eventually you start putting off your search further and further until it’s absolutely necessary to take action.

Looking for tips to reduce your time amongst the unemployed? Here are six steps to help you stop procrastinating when looking for a new job.

3. Create your plan of attack

One of the main reasons people tend to procrastinate finding a new position is because they’re unsure of what kind of job they want, or which companies they’d like to work for. Creating an outline of your job search strategy before you begin will help get things on the right track.

Thoroughly plan out how you will go about your job search, outlining your career objectives and the necessary steps it will take to achieve your career goals. Be definite of what type of work you want to do. Once you have that, determine which companies you know offer what you’re looking for and then narrow that list down to companies you want to work for.

5. Be prepared with the necessary tools

As with a regular work day, you have to be armed with the right tools for your job search if you want to be successful. Is today resume updating and job research day? Then make sure that your laptop and internet connection are working properly. Is today interview day? Then make sure that you are dressed appropriately and you have physical copies of your resume and other important documents ready.

Having all the tools you need for your job hunt on hand will ensure that you do not lose your momentum and helps minimize distractions.

See all 6 steps and the complete TheLadders article

5 Steps To Build an Ironclad Network For Your Career

By Hannah Morgan

It plagues every new job seeker what will you say to someone you want to meet without sounding like you’re looking for a job?

The truth is, you aren’t looking for a job. You’re seeking information. And let’s agree to stop calling it an informational interview. It isn’t an interview at all. It’s a conversation. It’s a meeting. The term interview frequently sends people running fast in the other direction. Only job seekers and career coaches use this term, and it reeks of, “hire me, I’m looking for a job.”

4) Craft a winning request. Almost any message is better than the default message LinkedIn sends. Take one second and insert your own words to personalize your reason for wanting to connect. Luckily, your message is limited to 185 characters, so you are forced to keep it short and sweet. Arnie Fertig, career counselor, On Careers blogger and owner of JOBHUNTERCOACH, recommends including these three elements in your introduction:

1. How you know or found the person the person you’re inviting. Convey something uniquely personal.

2. Explain why you want to link up with him or her.

3. Present your offer of reciprocity.

5) Keep the momentum. Once you’ve connected or met with someone, keep in touch. Serving as a conduit of information is one way you can maintain your relationships. Plan on sending him or her an interesting article or send congratulations along when you hear about his or her company’s news at least once every quarter. You’re nurturing your relationship and staying top of mind. It is the strength of your relationships that will help you learn about future opportunities and meet new contacts in your career field.

See all 5 steps and the complete USNews article

7 unusual places to look for a new gig that don’t include job sites

Candace Morrow

Give your typing fingers a job board break. “Old-fashioned” ways may open networking and occupational opportunities with new and long-standing Georgia businesses off line.

Who knows? These seven unconventional — and rather throwback — sources for landing your next profession could become career keys to job search success.

6) Church functions

Prayer groups, parish yard sales and pastor anniversaries serve as bonding moments with congregation members and natural networking events. Sharing your career goals among those who you enjoy worshipping alongside might move members to help with resume building, job leads and potential employment in and outside the church.

7) Family reunions

A distance cousin or retired aunt and uncle could become the breakthrough needed to land a position simply by asking. Capitalize on casual conversations about today’s job market during the family’s banquet or barbecue to see who’s career connected and who’s not.

See all 7 places and the complete article