Even with the economy still not fully mended, depending on the size of the city you live in, there are lots of opportunities to present yourself in large groups, seminars and career fairs. If you are a job seeker, you are most interested in the career fairs to land an hourly and paying job; not the easiest task in the world these days. If you are an entrepreneur offering contracting services, construction, consulting, or a third party vendor for a product, you are concerned most with networking to other business owners. They are two totally different arenas of presentation, and we will look at both. If you are the entrepreneur, you have a bit more power and can emulate a little more calm. If you are the job seeker, you need to seem available, diligent, and like you would fit the mold. We will look at the small business owner first.
For the sake of example, let’s use someone who provides services of designing smart phone applications. It is very in demand; however you have just started in business and desperately need clients. Believe it or not, your first step is designing business cards. Yes, those old fashioned, 8 track, analog seeming, physical business cards. Here’s why: sometimes your encounters with potential clients are so brief that you do not have time to take out smartphones and exchange web pages or phone numbers. Even though our sample entrepreneur provides a very high tech service, if his encounter is too brief, he needs to leave the potential customer something with his phone number. It’s a common mistake that some make; they think that people don’t like those clunky space consuming business cards in this modern age. Even if they don’t, when your service offered is something they want bad enough, they WILL save your card and call you back.
The second step in the situation of an entrepreneur is confidence. It can sometimes be very difficult when you are bleeding revenue, are in the red, or maybe do not have a single client yet. If the bills are going unpaid, if your life is falling apart, and the stress is eating you up; you’re going to have to suppress it. After reading around the web a lot we have found that one of the easiest ways to do this is when you are talking to a new person who may be a potential client, pretend that they have already paid you and you are thanking them. Everything is great, your smart phone apps are the best in the business, and you are getting ready to go cash their check. If you don’t, they will see your insecurity and may not be willing to hire you. It’s a vicious environment out there, and no matter how friendly people may seem on the surface, they are inwardly judging you at every second. Instead of saying “I really need the work, I hope you contact me”, try saying, “Excellent, I do believe that I am free, hope to hear from you soon”. Desperation is sensed, and fighting the urge to look desperate at the workshop or meet and greet is going to be your biggest asset in the battle of selling your own business.
As eager as you are to tell people that you create the coolest smartphone apps on the market, remember it is also key to listen. The bubbliest of personalities can really shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to presentation. If you know that the person you are speaking with at the workshop or expo is potentially one of the biggest purchasers of your apps that you make in the state; don’t bombard them; it is more important than ever to let them speak about what they want to speak about first, even if it is their vacation to Idaho to see potato fields. Then after some obligatory listening, you can let them know that you just launched your app creating venture. The client you want to land most may take some time, it will be important to have smaller jobs to tide you over. This is a very difficult time of any business, as some of the smaller clients may literally treat you worse and with less respect than the big fish you are after. You just have to handle these situations with grace, and you WILL know when it’s time to cut them loose. However they are invaluable to pay the bills on your way up.
If you are a job hunter seeking an hourly wage job in the world out there, no matter what anyone says, it is still like walking in a field full of landmines. One good word of advice is that even though we hate to say it; these days if an employer is just desperate to sign you up and have you start tomorrow; they may not be telling you what the job entails. Right now employers get their pick of talent no matter what the media tells you, and if they are hurriedly filling a position, it may be getting ready to be outsourced soon or simply be a very toxic environment.
Another thing to know is that we have been told over the last month that some employers are now taking their applicants through as many as SIX interviews, when the standard used to be 2 or 3. Yes, this can be very demoralizing; and you also have to answer questions from multiple people firing them at you. It is best as always to just be yourself, as cliché as that may sound. The main thing that your objective to let employers know about you is that you are going to help save them money. They do not care about your violin lesson teaching on the side, or softball league through church. It’s only the bottom line, and it will be this way for quite a few more years. As far as the current climate, without trying to sugarcoat anything; another tactic is that when the interview is over and the hr manager is thanking you for your time; you can always say outright, “Well I am interested in the position; is there any way to move things forward at all?” what happens is that when the interview is over, the applicant leaves, and sometimes the hiring manager has no idea if the applicant really wants the job. We live in a world where everything in life is full of headgames; swashbuckling your way through them is really more of a battle than doing the job every day once you land it.