An old colleague of mine once said to me, life is one long interview. If that’s the case then we should always be prepared. There is no point waiting for that ideal job to come up and then to go into the interview cold and make a mess of it. Practise along the way every day.
Why not treat each networking conversation as an interview? Treat each conversation as a trial run in all sorts of ways – your brand, why you left your previous role, what you are looking for, what you stand for and articulating the impact you can have. Try specific phrases, ideas and learn to listen and listen hard.
One of my oldest friends has always encouraged me to just “go and have a chat”. This approach has multiple advantages; of course it’s a great networking opportunity, but also, as we all love to give advice, you’ll get some good ideas on the way through and nearly always for free! It also has the advantage of putting yourself in an interview situation before your interview. Listen to other perspectives and learn what’s going on out there. Try things; different ways of talking about yourself and your ambition to test and learn different approaches.
Obviously, you can also try to have formal mock interviews with friends and even professionals. It just doesn’t matter how you get to done, just be ready to talk about you and what you want, in the way you want, without surprises. Hopefully the only surprises will be pleasant.
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