Taking Advantage Of A Chance Offer

Two weeks ago, my wife and I decided one evening to head out to a restaurant in our town for dinner. While there, we were greeted by our Server who turned out to be a young lady my wife and I had done some acting with in local community theatre in the past. Now all grown up and in her mid-twenties, she is working part-time as a Server while finishing up her education.

As we chatted a little and we both found out what she’s been up to, she mentioned that she was applying for employment, and that’s when I said that I was an Employment Counsellor and would be happy to look over her resume or go through a mock interview and give her feedback on both if she wanted. And I share this with you because job seekers can learn a great deal from seeing what transpired next in how she responded.

Now you have to understand that I have made and continue to make that kind of offer to many people over the course of time. Many say something like, “That’d be great!” and I can tell right away nothing will come of it. I never push it, because I’m gauging their motivation and initiative. She came back and we exchanged emails when we received the bill, and the next day she sent me her resume. So far so good.

After I looked over her resume I replied with some recommendations and it wasn’t long before I got another email both thanking me for the suggestions and asking for the mock interview because she has a job interview next week. So last night she and I sat down at my house at 7p.m. Of note, she showed up two minutes early, looking well-groomed, casually but smartly dressed, with a portfolio of her past recommendations and newspaper clippings demonstrating her volunteer work. She also brought along two job postings, each of which she now has an interview for in the coming week. I was immediately impressed.

The two of us went over her LinkedIn profile, her resume, examined both job postings – and I noted happily that she had previously highlighted all the key terms and requirements. Then I asked her twelve questions in a mock interview, and afterwards gave her feedback. Again I was impressed because she pulled out paper and pen and took notes, which only served to encourage me to say more. The feedback wasn’t going in one ear and out the other but would actually be thought over and implemented into future interviews.

Turns out we sat and chatted for two hours when I had anticipated and initially offered one hour of my personal time. But here’s the key thing that I think it’s critical for job seekers to learn from; that extra hour I gave her was provided with my enthusiasm because of her sincere interest and appreciation. At the door when she was leaving she thanked me and said it had been very helpful. I made a point of thanking her too, and made sure she knew how much I enjoyed helping her because of her high level of interest and commitment.

Here’s a classic example of how a chance encounter unlooked-for can lead to an opportunity and how that opportunity can be then realized and taken advantage of. It was years ago in a community theatre production of Annie when she was a high school dancer in the chorus that I recalled initially. That recollection reminded me of her attitude, personality, determination and that in turn was bolstered by how she conducted herself as the Server and I watched her perform her duties. She even had to ask us to relocate prior to our food being delivered in order to accommodate a large group of eight guests, and I watched how she handled this.

In other words whether she knew it or not, how she conducted herself, her body language, her listening skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills; all of it, was being observed and remembered by me at the time a customer, and that in turn led to the extended offer of help. The offer to help was then acted upon by her, and followed through with enthusiasm and demonstrated interest. She was punctual, appreciative, interested, demonstrated a willingness to receive feedback, and remembered her manners at the door when saying thanks.

If somebody out there needs to hire a GIS Analyst (Geographic Information Systems); have I got the girl for you!

So remember that people are often watching and evaluating you and your performance. How you act, dress, the words you say, the attitude with which you conduct yourself. Opportunities may or may not present themselves at any time and you’ll never know perhaps the opportunities that pass you by because of poor first impressions others may have of you.

All the best!

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