Career Management at Lunch – Who do You Spend Lunch With?

It should be clear by now that you get a job by talking to people. However, many people don’t know how to approach this principle and where to start.

I will give you some ideas where you can start in this article and hope you take action on this as it’s one of the most effective ways to build your network constantly while requiring almost no additional time effort.


Change Creates Opportunity

Many people have no idea what’s going on in their market or even in their company. If you are looking to move to your next career opportunity, you have to become your own information broker.

If you don’t know that the company next doors expands to the US, you will never get notified of the new Head of Business Development role because it will likely never be advertised anywhere. The position will go to one of your peers because she talked to her friend at the expanding company who then told her who to call to get an informal meeting with the hiring manager.

You need to be aware of new projects, expansion, change of top management, new product launches, innovations and everything that involved change. This is the source of where jobs are create. A new job is created when something changes. The more critical the change, the more likely the position will go to somebody whom the hiring managers trusts already. You need to become that trusted person.


You Need People Who Watch Out for Change

Your own eyes and ears might not be enough to get notice of everything that could create a career opportunity for you. You need to recruit an army of like-minded people who can deliver this critical information. The crux for most people: You have to be friends with them first.

You don’t just get the privilege of asking for help and asking others to do things for you. You need to put in the work first. If you do, many will be very happy to help you move to a new house, paint the ceiling or look out for information that could potentially create a career opportunity for you.


The Lunch Table

Most business deals I have done and most job offers I received were discussed at the lunch table. Why is it like that? Why are huge business deals closed over lunch or dinner? I believe it’s because we are sociable creatures in our core and we relate to people who believe what we believe and not a fancy furnished office or discounts.

Over lunch or dinner, people connect with each other on a different level than pure business. They chat about their family, their plans and goals, how much they love their dog and where they spent the last vacation. 

People do business with people they like. People hire people they like.

People usually don’t get to like each other in a two-hour interview or by sending in a CV. Trust is created when people share values and their view of the world.


Two People Connecting

A friend of mine told me a story yesterday. His mother used to live in an apartment in eastern Europe with somebody upstairs who always tried to make her life miserable. He many times turned off the water supply or flooded the bathroom to leak the apartment of her below. 

One day, she walked up to his apartment and being the kind person she is, told him a joke about a politician they both very much disliked. He said he could hardly stop laughing and after this incident, they became friends and life got much better.


Your Call to Action

Invite 1 new person per week for lunch who you have never seen in person before. If you are traveling extensively, invite 4 new people per month for lunch or dinner you have never seen face to face before.

This will expand your network by 52 new people per year. If you do this right, it might be the only job search strategy you ever need.

It might look like a lot of money to spend if you are currently out of work. However, I am going to assume that you spent similar amounts of money in the past for things that had less impact on your life or career.


Questions to Ask

When you meet with somebody for lunch, keep these three questions in mind:


1. Who do you know who knows anything about [Your desired next job]?

2. If you could choose any company to work at, which one would that be?

3. How did you get your current/last job?



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