I am a human in transition. One of the ways I am “transitioning” is by having a goal of no longer being underemployed. Times have changed, folks, when it comes to how to find “the job” of choice. There are many fast and furious lessons to learn while on this job finding adventure. The expression, “OYE!” does not even come close to expressing the frustration of looking for the type of work I spent years working towards in grad school. The terms networking, personal brand, Twitter and cyber footprint have only begun to seep into my mental Rolodex of comprehension. What the *bleep*? It would be safe to say that I am in the infancy of understanding what all of this means in the grander scheme of things relating to employment. Recently I had an experience that hopefully I never repeat or re-do. As always my stories are true and firsthand. Laugh on please……
Have you ever had one of those moments when you’ve mentally placed the heel of your hand to your forehead repeatedly yelling, “D’OH!” No one but you understands the gravity of the situation. That exact moment when you’ve accepted a faux pas has been committed with no graceful escape- your heart rate speeds up, your palms sweat, a complete sense of panic surges through your veins. My readers, let my story (true) be a cautionary tale while you create your personalized brand. If at any moment you decide it is okay to wear a wife beater t-shirt, cut offs and flip flops while gracing a 5 o’clock shadow to grab a last minute item at the grocery store because who could you possibly bump into of any importance at 9:30 pm on a Sunday night in the self-check out line?—think of me.
In my case it was not a five o’clock shadow per se, rather it was stained comfy tennis shoes, frazzled hair, and a clean t-shirt because it matched my skirt. It really was the karma gods teaching me a lesson about the importance of always representing myself in the best light possible. For weeks I had been working on making a solid lead at a small company in Clayton. Finally I had the courage to send the CEO a note on LinkedIn asking to add him to my contacts list. My next goal was to get an interview to open a door of opportunity. Fortunately he did accept my LinkedIn invite but that was before I bumped into him FIVE times at the art museum’s grand opening of the wing expansion. I kid you not—FIVE TIMES in less than two hours. He eyed me a few times, I eyed him hoping beyond hope he did not recognize me. By the third time of bumping into each other I sighed sense of relief because third time is a charm right? Nope two more times. Panic definitely setting in. I was asking myself by the fourth time if karma really could be so cruel. Actually on the last occasion of bumping into him it felt a bit stalker-like although it was merely the karma gods laughing in my face. Pure coincidence. What are the odds of bumping into the CEO of the company I had been trying to approach for employment? The same odds of you bumping into someone of importance while standing in line at the grocery store at 9:30 pm on a Sunday night.
I missed an opportunity to put my best foot forward illustrating to the CEO firsthand that I am worthy of his time for an interview. Weeks of networking—gone. Out the door. Adios. See ya later. Better luck next time. Check please. Next. Thank you and have a nice day all rolled into one fleeting moment. In my case FIVE times in the basement of the art museum. Creating your personal brand is of utmost importance not only while pursuing a career but will stick with you throughout your entire career. It is you saying to world, “This is me.” As the world becomes a smaller place to navigate due to social networking and media it is even more important to recognize the value of a personalized brand. Approach looking your best as a choice to wear that day’s uniform preference . Do you choose to wear a “uniform” of snazzy put togetheredness or a “uniform” of tuckered out, sloppy, and tired? You choose to decide how the world and all of its inhabitants (and hiring CEOs) see you.