People often make the mistake of giving their 30-second commercial immediately upon meeting someone new. I might add: “whether they want to hear it or not!” A professional portfolio is particularly valuable if you are seeking a new career opportunity. First meetings at business or social functions are to build rapport, gain trust and establish credibility. Ask your new acquaintance questions about “them.” How did they get into their business? What are current trends or issues they are experiencing?
The more you find out about them, the better equipped you will be to meet their needs…or at least bring them into your network by referring them to someone who CAN provide what they need. AFTER you have learned about them and asked for their business card, they will most likely ask about you and request your card. Now you have begun your new relationship and they haven’t felt it necessary to run for the nearest exit in fear of yet another hard sell from someone frantically working the room. Before you follow up for an interview, a meeting or coffee, try the following:
Create a promotional portfolio that demonstrates your accomplishments, education, experience and awards into one convenient and efficient package. Such a portfolio is a highly-effective marketing tool that gives prospects a complete picture of who you are – your experience, education, achievements, skill sets, and what you have the potential to do for them. Use it to display a point, illustrate the depth of your skills and experience, or as a tool for a second interview.
Include anecdotes about “how” you got something done, against whatever odds may have been encountered, and what the outcome was. This verifies that you are a problem-solver and a smart professional.
In your portfolio, determine what you do better than anyone else you know, relative to the products and services you provide and to those you want to serve. Show examples that can verify this. Include news articles featuring something you have done, white papers, photos, reference letters — whatever gets the job done in a positive manner. Creating this portfolio builds confidence, provides real-life examples, and is a fantastic tool for adding additional accomplishments. Great self-motivator to continue rising? Absolutely YES!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rita Rocker is a national inspirational and educational speaker, communications and image specialist, and a career and virtual presentations coach with Transformation Academy, LLC. She is the author of “A Guide to Marketing Yourself for Success”, and a contributing author to “The Unstoppable Woman’s Guide to Emotional Well Being -The Total Woman in Leadership and Success Guide for the Unstoppable Entrepreneur.” She has appeared on national television and radio talk shows on self-esteem and communication. A former Mrs. Nebraska and active in numerous professional organizations, Rita is on the Board of the Small Business Association of the Midlands and co-director of greater Omaha’s Affiliated Women International. Rita provides life and career-transforming programs to mature teens and adults. Contact Rita at firstname.lastname@example.org.