Since I was restructured, I’ve been building my network, primarily on my own steam. I’ve been doing this by reaching out to people I know and networks I’ve cultivated over the years. I’ve since built a network of about 350 people, and frankly I can’t connect with all of them all of the time.

However, I decided on the advice of a friend to attend a networking event, and found it interesting and instructional. The event of choice was a program in RTP called Networking with Nate, which I’ve since found out is a long-running and well-respected networking program. There were probably 25-30 people there looking for new opportunities.

What I liked about the event was the focus on refining messages, building resumes and getting better conversations. I sat in on a breakout using a set of cards to help identify the things you like doing best. The card deck contained cards with statements like “I like to build things” or “I see the big picture”. The idea was to select the 8 cards that most aligned to your interest and skills, then find in those one cards the actual activity or thing that drives you or gives you purpose.

From that it was interesting to me to see the cards I ended up selecting. They had to do with growth, identifying and advancing good ideas, having the big picture in mind, and good design. These attributes seem to do a good job reflecting what I enjoy doing and what I’ve done in the jobs I’ve enjoyed previously.

This led me to check out the cards and the company that creates them. The gentleman behind the cards is Richard Leider, who is a thinker who is deep into the power of purpose. Definitely worth checking out.

I have attended other networking sessions, both as a job seeker and as a coach or facilitator. Networking with Nate was well-run, and I think the exercise did a lot to continue to clarify what I’d like to do in my next opportunity.