(Missed) Opportunities often come and go at the oddest of times and the most peculiar places. When it comes to networking, are you prepared?
While sitting in a reception area waiting my turn for a cut, the silence amongst the group of four was deafening. Thinking as a career coach and author, I wondered why no one was taking advantage of a perfect networking environment. After too-much silence, I took the first step and broke the ice by asking a young lady sitting next to me about the cause of a minor leg injury (her left ankle wrap was a giveaway).
Conversation lacked reciprocation and so I pushed it a bit further with questions regarding her many tattoos. I quickly learned she and her friend, sitting directly across, were recently in Virginia. I then asked what it is they do:
“I am an unemployed call center supervisor, ”stated one while the other stated she was also unemployed. Here’s where the “Ready or Not, Here YOU are” comes full circle as the remainder of this discussion was directed toward the “other” unemployed individual (we’ll call Irma):
“You’re unemployed. How long have you been unemployed?” I asked
“Since January, but I really need to find a job.” Irma replied.
“What is it that you are looking for?”
“It doesn’t really matter, I just need a job.”
“What were you doing?” I asked knowing this lady needed to understand the value of an introductory statement/elevator speech.
“An administrative assistant.” Irma responded with nothing more to share.
Seeing an opening, I pounced with “why would someone want to hire you?”
“I’m a hard worker and good at what I do.”
Not satisfied with rhetoric, I then asked her what I typically ask all applicants during the interview process: “I have two other applicants also claiming to be hard workers and good at what they do, why should I consider you and not the other two?”
“I am a hard worker,” she repeated and added “I offer the total package.”
Not knowing what that meant, I asked her to give me an example of a situation requiring her action, what she did, and what was the result.
Thrown back a bit, more non-specific, non-quantifiable verbiage flowed from her mouth.
“These are nice qualities just about EVERYONE will say, but I need more… I need examples, confirmation, something believable giving you an advantage.”
After a short pause, I informed the two that I own a career management and publishing company and know how difficult it is to locate and secure jobs. Without pause, Irma asked “can I have a job.” I responded that “nothing was available but one never knows what will happen next month or perhaps someone else I know has a need for an administrative assistant possessing the total package.”
I then asked for her card just in case, Irma had no card.
Once my hair succumbed to butchery, I politely paid the receptionist and, as I was leaving the establishment, gave the unemployed a card with my email address and website information. Three days later, still no word, no email, no connection from Irma.
Taking advantages of golden opportunities means being prepared at all places and at all times. After all, no matter where you are, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THERE.
Reviewing Irma’s missed opportunity, what went wrong?
● An initial reluctance to begin or take part in a conversation
● Lacked an elevator speech or 30-second commercial
● No true professional objective
● The inability to quantify value in the workplace
● Too much talk, not enough action
● No introductory or business card
● Asking for a job
● Neglecting to follow-up
No doubt the above does not reflect all of the things that went wrong but it is enough for now.
Let’s place you in Irma’s shoes… Are you prepared? Before answering if you are Ready or not, take a few moments and respond to the following
● What distinguishes you from the other two finalists (be specific and offer examples)?
● Do you have a business or introductory cared with you at ALL times?
● Do you know what you are looking for in a job, really?
● Why should I hire you?
The next time you are standing in line, waiting for your appointment, or even riding an elevator, take a deep breath and put yourself out there.
After all, no matter where you are, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THERE.
ECS offers cutting-edge books and workbooks designed to give you a competitive edge. Throughout the pages, prepare yourself with hard hitting questions, truths, activities, samples, and proven strategies to improve your career station. For additional information, go to our storefront page on our website (www.edu-cs.com) or go to Amazon (simply search Danny at ECS).
For additional information or assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
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