Content | Business | Design

How To Invest in Your Brand, Wherever You Go

In Business & Marketing on June 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I announced on Twitter that I went to a job fair. (Exciting, right?) There were employers like Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and Civil Service tests there which aren’t in my career goals. But I learned a valuable lesson there: create opportunity at every turn and take action because there is something to be gained or something to be lost.

I collected four business contacts as freelance leads, which I will be pursuing privately. Aside from the potential for more business, I gained valuable insight into execution strategies. Particularly:

  1. How to engage prospective clients and business partners
  2. Establishing your brand and services through clear communication and voice
  3. Pitching or making your value known to organizations
  4. Find their needs, if you don’t know them already.

Points of Success

  1. Your success begins with identifying your goal. Going into this job fair I had no intention to pass out business cards or resumes. I was gathering information to research and connect, as potential freelance work. What are your objectives and intentions when you engaging your target market?
  2. Be knowledgeable about your environment and the people you talk with. In this case: Recruiters at job fairs are very excited to talk to you about your pursuits. They are there to promote their business and see how you might fit into their work culture (or bottom line). Knowing your environment and audience will ease you into a comfort zone for talking about yourself and what you want to pursue. Remember: communicate directly.
  3. You can learn to put the “useless” to use. Clear, commanding, and incisive communication is privy to business applications that numbers cannot achieve. Communication creates or accesses the numbers.

  4. Remember to shine. The professionals who were representing large companies that day were captivated by my ambition. Sometimes being young and hungry is the only advantage you need. I felt like I was pitching them. Know what you are looking for and be able to elaborate. If the employer cannot figure out what you are after, how can they help? The basics are important too (e.g. body language, smiling). Note: this isn’t something to be gained overnight. You’ll need to develop insight into your niche and field.

Here’s the twist.

I did not see one person there who was dressed casually. Everyone was suited-up! And that’s great for them. I was wearing quarter length black Nike socks, beige cargo shorts, a white Detroit Red Wings t-shirt (with Hebrew writing) and a bright red Valet Services windbreaker. I don’t suggest walking into your next board meeting wearing a Hawaiian shirt. (This goes back to knowing your environment.) Job fairs attract the full spectrum of income and social class. I just bent the rules, here. Know what is flexible and what is not.

I gathered that most of the job-seekers looked at me and laughed. But I was making advancements and creating valuable connections. Make yourself memorable and create a separate identity from everyone who shovels their resume on to every table. My information and what’s more my time is valuable.

Here’s a question I hope will be thought provoking, not discouraging:

If you will work for anyone and perform any task, what is your worth? Where are your values?

There are qualities and talents specific to you, which nobody else has. Never forget this, and make them work for you. This I’ll take the next thing that comes my way mentality is endemic to today’s job seekers. It’s sad. It’s time to find happiness in your work and produce great work, which happens when you’re doing it for more than a paycheck. I’m interested to see what correlation this has to the growth of service economies in the United States. It’s OK to be hungry—even starving. But be smart about how and what you consume. (And excrete?)

Moving Forward…
Time to begin cross-training. The job fair diversified my workout and exercised my muscles differently—making for a healthy day of spring training, leading up to the season. (I have interviews and applications that I’m very excited about.) What is your opening day? Do you have one scheduled yet? Get off of waivers, today!

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