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  #1  
Old 02-17-2019, 01:39 PM
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Westley Westley is offline
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Default Westley talks about (EL) networking

Want to discuss how to network. And, some tips on how not to network as well. Will be mostly focused on EL people and people looking for an EL role.

As with the rest of the suite of Westley-endorsed threads (Westley talks about recruiters, This isn't the career for you, Westley deals with bad recruiters, Westley talks about interviewing, Best of... Westley, Resume writing for beginners, Westley advises newbs): Questions and comments, in this thread or by PM*, are welcome. I plan to add to this thread over time, not intending it to be a one-time thing. People posting their own experience and disagreements with my comments and advice are always welcome. I will also be borrowing over time from other threads that have relevant info.

*I reserve the right to post PMs with my response in this thread. I will, IMO and at my discretion, appropriately "genericize", falsify, or redact identifying information that you provide me in PM. If you specifically request that I do not post your PM even in redacted form, then I will honor that request as well.
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Old 02-17-2019, 02:06 PM
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Impetus for this thread is: http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actu...d.php?t=338329

so I want to talk specifically about actuarial clubs and similar local events. Some actuarial clubs have social events, but mostly these are professional events. Basically, I use these for grabbing all my CE (continuing ed) credits very efficiently. So, the normal format that I'm familiar with is that there are 4 or 5 presentations on topics of interest over the course of a short day (maybe 9:00-3:30 or similar) with lunch and short refreshment breaks in between.

The first thing to be aware of is that most people there are just there to do their CE and get out. Maybe mix a bit with some cow-orkers and also see a few people that they know from school or prior jobs that they get to catch up with a couple times a year. So, you're the outsider and they are on autopilot the whole time, just collecting their CE and saying hi to a bunch of old friends and getting home a bit earlier than normal. This sounds bad, like you're not going to get anywhere, but the good news is that anybody putting in any effort to meet and be friendly at all is going to stand out.

One issue is to have a quick intro line, something basic like "I'm currently (a student, working in compliance, teaching HS) and considering moving to the actuarial field, here to learn a bit more about the field, meet some people, get some advice" or whatever. Almost no matter what you say, they will hear "I'm looking for a job" and you want that (because they might say "I have an opening"), but also be aware that as soon as you do that, there's a bit of a scare factor, like "Ugh, this guy's going to bug me for a job and I don't have one, nor do I know him well enough to know if I'd hire him if I did." So, you want to transition to something that is 1) moving away from any appearance that you're about to ask for a job, and 2) helpful for getting you info, 3) useful for connecting with the person, leaves them with a good impression, maybe willing to talk more in the future.

Good transitions IMO:
Where do you work? Do you like it? <-- Basic and generic, but people like talking about where they work, or themselves in general
What would you advise to somebody just getting into the field? Would you advise somebody to get into the field? <-- Better, but really more of a longer discussion, like over lunch, this doesn't fit into a 5-minute break where people mix very quickly
Anything about their company can be useful. Takes some pre-work, but if there's a few major companies that send a lot of people to the meeting, then having a comment like "Oh, just saw you guys were in the news for ____" can lead to a good convo.
Etc.

Having a bit of a plan for how you're going to make the conversation useful is important. Doesn't mean that you shouldn't let it develop naturally if that happens, but it might not.

Last edited by Westley; 02-17-2019 at 02:09 PM..
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Old 02-17-2019, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westley View Post
Anything about their company can be useful. Takes some pre-work, but if there's a few major companies that send a lot of people to the meeting, then having a comment like "Oh, just saw you guys were in the news for ____" can lead to a good convo.
THAT SEXUAL ASSULT CHARGE
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:07 PM
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lol hostess

Even if it's bad (which is usually the case when an insurance company or consulting firm is in the news), it's good to make them aware that you pay attention, and regardless it's a natural conversation-starter - those are few and far-between in this type of event.

Oh, you're from Swiss Re, I don't know much about them, pretty much the only thing I ever heard was that news story with the exec that went to a strip club and rang up a huge bill, then sued over it and of course Swiss Re gets their name attached because that makes the story more exciting and generates clicks. Does it ever bother you to be in an industry that the media likes to turn into a punching bag?
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Old 02-17-2019, 06:12 PM
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Westley Westley is offline
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And we already have a question from the audience:
Quote:
Dress appropriately. There are varying degrees of formality at different networking meetups and the bad news is you won't know until you get there. Just note the level of casual attire and plan for that next time. Granted, I just find it's more comfortable to meet people that way. I'm speaking about a meetup related to actuarial, not specifically actuarial, and I haven't been offered a job again.

I found it's easier to arrive close to the beginning of the presentations and to remember the names of people I've met. Also remembering and discussing previous presentations gives insights and is fun. I usually find out ahead of time about the upcoming topic and can look into it beforehand too. Knowing past and upcoming presentation subjects has been an easy way to connect with people in the field.
OK, not really a question but a good comment for sure.

Attire: Usually they specify biz cas (most common by far) or business (pretty rare these days), or casual (also rare IME, unless it's specifically a social event). For business, I'd wear a coat and tie, but make sure it will look ok if you sneak into the bathroom and take the tie off - in case you get there and realize everybody else went more casual, that takes a lot off. Biz cas, IME people will be all over the place. Most importantly: No matter what research you do, you run the risk of showing up and realizing that you missed. Taylor Swift would tell you to Shake It Off, as would I - all you can do is wear what you have on and start talking to people.

Doing the research ahead is a good idea too - you don't need to be an expert or anything, just know something about the topic so if it comes up in conversation you can say something.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:29 AM
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you can always network with me

I love attention
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Don't you even think about sending me your resume. I'll turn it into an origami boulder and return it to you.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:59 AM
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Is that a tie in your pocket or...
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:45 AM
bsanders33 bsanders33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westley View Post
And we already have a question from the audience:

OK, not really a question but a good comment for sure.

Attire: Usually they specify biz cas (most common by far) or business (pretty rare these days), or casual (also rare IME, unless it's specifically a social event). For business, I'd wear a coat and tie, but make sure it will look ok if you sneak into the bathroom and take the tie off - in case you get there and realize everybody else went more casual, that takes a lot off. Biz cas, IME people will be all over the place. Most importantly: No matter what research you do, you run the risk of showing up and realizing that you missed. Taylor Swift would tell you to Shake It Off, as would I - all you can do is wear what you have on and start talking to people.

Doing the research ahead is a good idea too - you don't need to be an expert or anything, just know something about the topic so if it comes up in conversation you can say something.
you should always err on the side of being over dressed. very rarely will this hurt you. i mean, there are a few times, like if everyone is in shorts and Hawaiian shirts and you are wearing a three-piece, you are going to look like a total doofus. but if everyone is in jeans, and you are wearing dress slacks and a starched dress shirt, that's going to be no big deal at all.

otherwise, my only sartorial advice is to have clean, shined, leather shoes with any outfit. if you're limited on money, get the nicest pair of shoes you can afford (you can't go wrong with Allen Edmonds) but get your dress pants off the rack at Kohls and look for the sale on dress shirts at Joseph A Banks and you can bang out like 3 shirts for 99, and if you take them to the cleaners at medium starch or more they will look great for many wearings.

and make sure your belt matches your shoes. it doesn't have to be an expensive belt. you can find nice leather belts on sale at kohls for like 15 bucks.

but don't chinse on the shoes and keep 'em clean
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:53 AM
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If you show up in a starched shirt I will question why you'd want to destroy your own clothing
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Don't you even think about sending me your resume. I'll turn it into an origami boulder and return it to you.
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:05 AM
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Can you identify starched shirts by sight or do you sniff them?
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