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 Dear forum,

 
I'm a Brussels-based lawyer and I've been unemployed for a while now and I have been sending out quite a few applications. So far with no luck. So earlier this summer I decided to take contact to a person whom I know a bit. He's got a very good reputation here in the city as he has managed to create a successful consulting company which is now of considerable size. 
 
I did send him my cv along with a brief email. He has just now agreed to see me for a cup of coffee tomorrow afternoon at his office. So i only have 24h to prepare. My question now is how I shall proceed tomorrow:
 
1) do I treat it as a job interview or shall I try and prepare for a somewhat more casual setting?
2) Do I wear a suit? (I would always wear a suit and tie for any job interview or important meeting, so I learn towards doing so tomorrow). 
3) Do I bring my references and my cv?
4) anything else to take into consideration?
Best regards, 
Philip  

dschreiber's picture

It sounds like you're on the right track, treating it like any important professional meeting. It doesn't sound like a job interview, and I wouldn't go in assuming that's the agenda of your time together even if that's what you want it to be.

My recollection from John Lucht's book Rites of Passage is that he recommends asking for advice or a referral. If you know this person well, you can ask him to be a reference for you. If he knows of your work and can help validate what you're capable of - it takes away the awkward asking for a job and forcing the issue up-front, requiring the person to say "no" because they're not in a place to commit. The other idea would be to ask for guidance or support in your job search. Again, providing time to get to know what you're looking for gives the other person time to consider whether you're right for his firm. It enables him to say "sure I'll help" without saying "I'll hire you."

Bottom line - treat it like a professional meeting. Respect his time. Be careful what you're asking for, that he can give it easily and you're not forcing him to withdraw. A friend or colleague without an opportunity is better than someone who feels like they need to withdraw and eliminate any possibility of adding this person to your network. By all means, if you can help him in any way find a way to be helpful to him. 

philip_rye's picture

 Thanks a lot DSCHREIBER,

 

i did pretty much as you recommended, and it went pretty well. 

 

Cheers,

 

P.