A while ago I ran into someone I had previously interviewed for a contractor position with my consulting business. She was one of the top candidates, and it had been about a year and half since I had seen her last. I asked what she was up to now, and her response was:
What a downer. But then she went on to tell me about a contract she had recently completed in her area of expertise and in one of my fields of interest. That would have been a much better opener.
However you respond, open with something positive AND make it clear you are looking for new opportunities. For example:
- I just finished up some interest work doing XYX. I’m looking for my next project in the area of ABC.
- I’m doing some volunteering work with Organization Z doing ABC, and I’m looking for work right now in a similar area.
- I’m taking some courses in ABC, and I’m hoping to find work soon in an organization that could use these skill and my experience in DEF.
- What I’m hoping to do is XYZ…. I’m currently working in ABC and want to make a move soon because XYZ is really where my passion lies.
- I’m spending time right now meeting with people who work in XYZ because I want to learn more about careers in this area. I’m hoping to find a role soon doing ABC.
You can also use this conversation as the opportunity to ask if they’ve heard of any recent opportunities or have recommendations for individuals or organizations you should get in touch with. Just be sure to not make the whole conversation about yourself. Ask what they are involved with right now – it might trigger some ideas for you.