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    • mike_302
    • By mike_302 16th Jul 17, 12:49 PM
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    mike_302
    Jobseeking Etiquette: Offering Tea and Coffee?
    • #1
    • 16th Jul 17, 12:49 PM
    Jobseeking Etiquette: Offering Tea and Coffee? 16th Jul 17 at 12:49 PM
    Looking for some simple etiquette advice:

    Is it odd for someone who is aggressively job hunting in a particular sector to send expressions of interest to particular businesses requesting a to meet with someone in management to discuss volunteer / job opportunities, and (IN PARTICULAR) to offer to buy coffee or tea in return for some of their time?

    The sector is history, heritage and tourism, but I don't think that matters too much, other than to say it's a tough sector to crack and that it REALLY requires someone to make sure they are the candidate that sticks out above a sea of other candidates.
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    • Gavin83
    • By Gavin83 16th Jul 17, 1:27 PM
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    Gavin83
    • #2
    • 16th Jul 17, 1:27 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Jul 17, 1:27 PM
    Is it odd for someone who is aggressively job hunting in a particular sector to send expressions of interest to particular businesses requesting a to meet with someone in management to discuss volunteer / job opportunities, and (IN PARTICULAR) to offer to buy coffee or tea in return for some of their time?
    Originally posted by mike_302
    I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with asking if they'd meet you for a coffee to discuss opportunities within their company. However if you've no prior relationship with them I think you should be fully prepared for them to say no, they're likely busy people.
    • Detroit
    • By Detroit 16th Jul 17, 1:41 PM
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    Detroit
    • #3
    • 16th Jul 17, 1:41 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Jul 17, 1:41 PM
    I wouldn't respond positively to this. Better to request a meeting at their place of business. Better still to approach those who offer volunteer opportunities and follow their volunteer recruitment process. The national trust for example. Details on their website.


    Put your hands up.
    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 16th Jul 17, 1:54 PM
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    paddyrg
    • #4
    • 16th Jul 17, 1:54 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Jul 17, 1:54 PM
    It'll depend on the phrasing - "If I buy you a £2 coffee will you give me a job?" vs "It would mean a lot to me to be able to pick your brain, maybe over a coffee if you can spare me 20 minutes?"

    If the former, I'd turn you away, if the latter I'd probably make time for you. Don't beg for a job, ask what things you need to learn/etc to increase your chances in the industry and how the invitee got their break. If they offer you work experience or a job, woohoo! If they don't, you've got a contact.
    • mike_302
    • By mike_302 16th Jul 17, 2:00 PM
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    mike_302
    • #5
    • 16th Jul 17, 2:00 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Jul 17, 2:00 PM
    Okay, take-aways so far:
    • Make sure it's clear that you're offering to bring them tea/coffee or go for tea/coffee nearby (there was never any intention of getting them to go out of their way for a tea/coffee meeting).
    • The head of management might be too busy to accept such an offer. I've also had feedback that we should be addressing a single person with the letter/invite, rather than a generic invite. But maybe we can find a way to address the leading person, while keeping it open to meet with any employed person at the business? (in heritage and culture, I think there's limited employment -- even sales associates are volunteers -- so getting a meeting with anyone that has a salary means you're talking with someone with some authority and expertise on how to get somewhere in the industry).
    • Make the invite about learning about someone's career, and what they can tell you about volunteer progression / employment at their company. I agree that it'd be silly to say, let's talk about a job, and I'll buy you a coffee.
    The intention is still to say, "Hey, I'm interested in volunteering", but the intent of the invitation to meet is also to make it clear that you aren't a casual volunteer with a generic interest in working at a museum; you're serious about a career in this field. So far, what we've observed in this industry is that the organizations that are COMPLETELY volunteer-run, pay the most attention to the lowest-level volunteers. Larger organizations that have salary and volunteer workers seem to pay less (and sometimes no) attention to their volunteers, hence the turn over / disinterest in many of those places.
    • Detroit
    • By Detroit 16th Jul 17, 2:23 PM
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    Detroit
    • #6
    • 16th Jul 17, 2:23 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Jul 17, 2:23 PM
    In sectors with a high ratio of volunteers to paid staff, there can be huge competition for paid roles. Many volunteers will be not 'casual' but will also be there in the hopes of gaining experience for a paid role.

    The volunteers selected for jobs are generally those who have stood out whilst in the process of volunteering, and proved themselves. Stating a desire for a paid role before you even start would be unlikely to make any difference, it could be a case of 'ok, get in line' I'm afraid.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't express your long term goals to your supervisor when volunteering, and the good ones will provide you with opportunities. However, in volunteer led organisations, remember there's often a ready made pool of experienced applicants for paid posts, so there's not usually a way to short cut putting in the volunteer hours and standing out for your abilities.

    I don't think your idea would necessarily do any harm, just a bit of a waste of time imo.


    Put your hands up.
    • mike_302
    • By mike_302 16th Jul 17, 2:36 PM
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    • #7
    • 16th Jul 17, 2:36 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Jul 17, 2:36 PM
    Point taken, and generally agreed, especially for larger places. We're looking at targeting some smaller places too -- some of them don't seem to have as strong of an emphasis even on attracting volunteers, and some are just under redevelopment now, and will need to hire to re-open in their expanded format, so hopefully this strategy is influential in this case.

    I definitely agree that it's the better supervisors that give volunteers an opportunity to meet those higher up. Anecdotal experience from the bigger organizations so far has been disheartening -- sometimes volunteers are brought on / accepted by volunteer-volunteer coordinators, and never meet anyone who's actually getting paid / anyone who's successfully gone through the volunteer route to get a job! The one time that we met someone who DID get through, they were just as bitter about being employed there, and warned to stay away from the sector! (Ironically, this is just bitter ranting on my part :P)
    • tomatoandcheese
    • By tomatoandcheese 16th Jul 17, 2:40 PM
    • 21 Posts
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    tomatoandcheese
    • #8
    • 16th Jul 17, 2:40 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Jul 17, 2:40 PM
    I work in the heritage sector and have to say I would find the coffee thing odd - that's even considering part of my role involves giving careers advice. Unless we had a specific job or volunteer role available that someone wanted to speak about, I'd even be reluctant to commit to a face to face in the office since we are very time pressured and most general advice can be given by phone or email. A phone conversation would be the best you'd get from me I'm afraid!
    • tomatoandcheese
    • By tomatoandcheese 16th Jul 17, 3:05 PM
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    tomatoandcheese
    • #9
    • 16th Jul 17, 3:05 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Jul 17, 3:05 PM
    Sorry, brief pause to tend to my lo. I don't know what role you are aiming for and what I do is quite specific but if you want some advice pm me with some more detail - eg desired role, existing experience, rough area of the country - and I can try to give some general pointers
    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 16th Jul 17, 5:02 PM
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    paddyrg
    Just for clarity BTW, I'm not in your sector, but in a sector where there is a huge oversupply of aspiration and undersupply of paid jobs (film). The cultures may be different
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 16th Jul 17, 5:14 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    Before doing this, I'd check out what their recruitment of volunteers looked like. We use a lot of volunteers, but would struggle to find time to meet with a random individual who wanted to volunteer with us. They need to come to one of our Introductory Evenings, or respond to one of our adverts for particular skills.
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    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 16th Jul 17, 5:25 PM
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    theoretica
    Point taken, and generally agreed, especially for larger places. We're looking at targeting some smaller places too -- some of them don't seem to have as strong of an emphasis even on attracting volunteers, and some are just under redevelopment now, and will need to hire to re-open in their expanded format, so hopefully this strategy is influential in this case.

    I definitely agree that it's the better supervisors that give volunteers an opportunity to meet those higher up. Anecdotal experience from the bigger organizations so far has been disheartening -- sometimes volunteers are brought on / accepted by volunteer-volunteer coordinators, and never meet anyone who's actually getting paid / anyone who's successfully gone through the volunteer route to get a job! The one time that we met someone who DID get through, they were just as bitter about being employed there, and warned to stay away from the sector! (Ironically, this is just bitter ranting on my part :P)
    Originally posted by mike_302
    Are you asking for yourself? Your use of 'we' makes it look as though you are trying to organise someone else into this. Whoever that is will need to make the approach themselves.

    There are a lot of different jobs in the heritage sector, and an approach will be much more convincing, with more chance of success, if it is targetted towards the area of interest and is realistic. 'I want to work in heritage/a museum' is too broad - are you more interested in being a tour guide or site administrator? Asking to meet someone with your ideal job is far more likely to be useful (and successful) than just anyone with a job in the sector. Also if you do get such a meeting make sure you have an agenda of relevant and specific questions which give the impression you have done your research first.
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