April 23, 2006
Liz published this at 3:53 pm
Gosh You Look Great
You have your act totally together. You know how to answer every question. You can explain how to capitalize on your strengths and how you make your weaknesses irrelevant. You can explain your biggest challenge and how you handled it with finesse and outstanding interpersonal skills. Your resume is a personal branding brochure and an inviting picture of who you are. You can see yourself as a leader and explain what your best traits are in simple, clear sound bytes. Your personal branding BIG IDEA shines through your eyes, your words, and everything you do. You are cool.
That doesn’t change the fact that job [and client] hunting is stressful. Even if you didn’t put your pants on backwards.
Make Google Your Friend
That first meeting or interview is right up there as one of the most stressful things we do. One way to lower the stress level is to do what you already did, prepare can so that you’re looking good. A second is to know as much as you can about where you’re going. Make Google your friend.
- Google the company. Folks are Googling you these days. You should be Googling them. Find their website. Get to know a bit about them. Crawl all over it to find two or three questions about the company. You don’t necessarily have to ask the questions, but you’ll have them during the meeting. During a meeting two weeks ago I was able to say, I know exactly the product you’re talking about. I saw it on the website last night. The comment received a smile from my new client.
- Google the person you’re contacting for an interview. You’d be surprised how a little information from a few minutes on Google can make a letter of introduction seem more personal. A letter I wrote last year included the following sentence. Did you know that your peace corps information is still on the Internet? I bet that was a once in a lifetime experience. The woman I wrote it to knew I was serious enough to do my homework. You might also check WhosWhoo?! at Yahoo?
There are plenty more, such as fresh up before the meeting. I’m sure you know most of the usual tips. Those two are the big ones that don’t often get mentioned. Let us know if you have good ones that you’ve discovered.
Myths about Meeting with Clients and Potential Employers
It’s only human that any event of importance has myths and mysteries that grow up around it. Job hunting and client prospecting are no different. Here are a few that need debunking.
- A resume must follow the rules. We’ve already covered that. Please see Your Resume-The Brand YOU Brochure. A resume, like any other well-written document should have exactly as many words as it needs and not one word more — or less.
- A cover letter shouldn’t take long. Please don’t say that near me. Your cover letter is your chance to show your personality. If you ask, I’ll write an example cover letter as a post, and we can dissect it together. Cover letters separate one resume from another. Cover letters get more jobs than resumes do. If you can’t do a dazzler, write the best one you can and hire someone like me to edit it for you.
- You should apply for all jobs, even those that you don’t want. This gets a big IT DEPENDS. If you’re serious that you’d never do the job, don’t waste everyone’s time to get experience–that’s selfish. Beside, if you’re really not interested, you won’t have a good meeting, and you’ll give a bad impression. On the other hand, if you’re only a bit uncertain, then do go check out the job or the client. Surprises do happen.
- The world is flat. No, the world is round, and so are most actions — as in what you do often returns. Every person that you meet counts. If you land the job or client, that person at the front desk or the one on the telephone may be your colleague. He or she could be someone you need one day when you’re in a pinch. Be nice to everyone. It doesn’t take much.
I put that last myth because, well, I’m the nice one.
Negotiating the Meeting
The best advice I’ve learned about first meetings with potential employers or clients are these three tips.
- The first one to name a number loses. To me that’s self-explanatory. If I say a number, they’re not going to go higher. If they ask, I usually answer with . . . what the work is worth, let’s talk a little more about what’s involved and what you usually pay for this kind of work.
- In any negotiation, the one most willing to walk away from the table wins. It’s true, the less you want something, the more power you have. If you calmly explain that you cannot accept the job for that amount and they need you, you just might get the project.
- When you’ve made the sale, don’t buy it back. Basically that means say “thank you” and shut up.
That was fun. While you’re out there, find me a few clients too would you?
Seriously, what did I leave out? What myths do you know, and what works for you?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Brand YOUÃ¢â‚¬â€œCapitalize on Your Strengths
Brand YOUÃ¢â‚¬â€œMaking Your Weaknesses Irrelevant
Brand YOUÃ¢â‚¬â€œWhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the BIG IDEA?
Images & Sound-Bytes of a Brand YOU Leader