how to ask for a jobThe words “Know anyone hiring?” or “I’m here looking for job opportunities” can shut down a networking conversation faster than spinach in your teeth or talking politics!

When you focus only on what you can gain from a networking event, you come across as needy and frankly, boring. Concentrate on presenting the caring, curious and resourceful person you really are.

Instead of using those phrases, try one of these lines instead:

“I’d really love to work on a team like that!”

Let’s say you’re at an event and you run into someone you know for a fact is hiring for a really cool position on their team and you want to be part of it. Weave this little line into the conversation. It’s not only a great way to nudge your contact into talking to you about it, it also shows that you are familiar with their industry. Ask a few questions based around their needs or timeline and then ask how to get in touch to learn more. Follow up the next day with an email to get your foot in the front door.

“What are your thoughts on _____________?”

There is a super special magic that happens when you give before you take and it will help you get ahead in your career. Do some research on the person/company you’re hoping to connect with at the networking event and find a way to show your value before you even touch on the interview step. After you ask the question, allow the person to talk, and talk, and talk.

“What new venture are you up to these days?”

You know that person, the one who always seems to have some new venture or startup going on that you would love to work for – and if not, they’re connected to other movers and shakers! Leading in with this conversation starter will help uncover potential job opportunities and gives you the chance to share resources as well as set up a time to talk more about where you might fit in their new venture.

When you make asking for a job less about the fact that you’re ready to make a move or you’re completely unemployed and more about starting a two-way conversation, the more chances you will have of extending the conversation beyond happy hour.

Showing interest and sharing will make referrals, recommendations and interview requests come your way even if the person you’re talking to isn’t hiring. Odds are, he or she will be so impressed with you that they are willing to pass your name along to someone who is!