Last week I went to this really generic networking event organized by Prolango. They create events to bring together job seekers, recruiters and the employed who want to expand their network in a very non-smarmy kind of way. I was impressed, I met some nice folks, and even some other scientists. I've been basically following up with those people all week.
1) I went to my first "cloned" meeting. I wanted to meet with the two scientists I met at the Mixer, who apparently get together to share ideas and encouragement regularly, so all three of us got together. It turned out to be awesome for me to pick the brains of two seasoned scientists who are in career transition. We talked for 2 hours. Wow. I hope they thought it was useful too.
2) I'm growing the LinkedIn thing. Most of the folks I met at the Prolango event I had really nice conversations with, and we agreed to connect on LinkedIn. It's helping to grow my network towards new hiring managers and recruiters.
3) Speaking of which, I had a meeting with a recruiter at Aerotek. I think recruiters are meant to be vague, I have no idea whether he thinks I'll ever find a job or not, but it was a decent practice interview.
4) One of the people I met at the event who had a vague seeming job in a company that "drives consumer interest to major retailers" and I thought might have some writing work for me was actually an Amway sales lady. I felt silly thinking I was going to client meeting only to realize I was the product. Dang.
5) All this networking is starting to feel like it is paying off. I had an internal reference for a position at Amgen. Sweet.
Next week I'll be headed to the Eastside Networking Event, which is supposed to be pretty good also. I'm taking a wingman with me, which might change the dynamic a bit. Wish me luck!