At a recent picnic, my wife and I struck up a conversation with a young man who was walking around with his Nikon camera, taking pictures of everyone.
Since one of my hobbies is photography and my favorite camera is a Nikon, instantaneously he was my new best friend. In having our conversation, I found out that he was a recent college graduate (2010) with a degree in construction management.
He graduated with honors. However, he had not been successful in getting a job since graduating. Since I have a daughter that graduated that same year and is gainfully employed within her major, I wanted to talk to him in a more in-depth conversation.
Is your message coherent?
So after the initial conversation, I asked a few simple questions: what are you looking for? Tell me about you. That is where it derailed.
His response was all over the map, while he was looking for an entry-level position, his passion was photography. Then it was back to his major and as they say on and on.
This went on a while as I listened till he stopped talking. When he did, I said we have to talk. I told him my background and then proceeded to tell him the importance of having a pitch and to stay on point.
Not only that, I had contacts within the construction industry that I could connect him to. But first he needed to work on HIS presentation
Never discount anyone
This reminded me of a story that a career consultant friend of mine told me.
There was a senior level executive in New York who was laid off during the recession. After a while of trying to find another job, she decided to go back home to the Midwest to take a break. One morning she decides to spend the morning with her grandmother.
As the both of them were having coffee, her grandmother asked her about her job search and what was she looking to do. Since this question came from her grandmother, she kind of sidestepped it. She figured her grandmother would not be of any help.
When her grandmother persisted, she finally told her that there was this particular company that she really wanted to work for but was not having any luck in connecting with anyone there. She noticed her grandmother staring away as if trying to remember something. Just then, she excused herself from the room and came back with her phone book.
As she looked through her phone book, her granddaughter looked on puzzled. Finally, she asked her what she was looking for. She told her that her bridge partner’s granddaughter works for that company and is one of their senior executives.
After a phone call, she came back and gave her granddaughter a phone number and told her to call the young lady. Within a few weeks, she had an interview, and within a month, she was employed with her dream company.
Everyone counts in job search mode
The moral of the story is that while in job search mode, everyone you come in contact with has the potential to land you that job. You must perfect your pitch. This is your advertisement and you must make it work.
It is called the 2-minute pitch, but it does not have to be two minutes.
My suggestion to my friend is this. Spend some time in front of the mirror perfecting your pitch as to who you are, what you are looking for, and why a company should hire you. If it is two minutes fine, if not, and you still get your point across, even better.
Use every opportunity whether at a cookout, on your commute, or basically anywhere you engage in conversation to get in your pitch. Use every opportunity to describe the package that you bring to the table. It is critical to your career search and will increase your visibility and influence.
So next time you are at an event, everyone that is there could be the one that enables you to make the connection. Don’t discount anyone.
About the Author
Today's post is written by Ron Thomas (pictured), a human resources professional with more than 15 years of experience, including roles with Martha Stewart Living and IBM. He was recently named to the Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy at the Human Capital Institute in Washington, D.C. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Workforce Management, Chief Learning Officer magazine and Crain's New York Business. Recently, he was named to the HR Hall of Fame by HR Network of New York. Ron's blog, StrategyFocusedHR, focuses on human resources from a strategic perspective.
6 Job Networking Tips for New Grads
What the Heck Is "Networking" and How Do I Do It?
The First 10 Seconds Will Make or Break Your Resume
Obey the 10 Commandments of Networking