In this day and age, the value of creative work is often devalued and many times people want you to do work at discounted prices – or even for free with “credit” – so you must be able to answer the question of why someone should hire you.
In retrospect, I may have missed out on opportunities because I didn’t clearly articulate what I could bring to the table, which is always a real bummer after I worked so hard to get into the room.
A couple of years ago, a small business I created had come to an end and out of necessity I had to venture out into the corporate world. While running my small business – which taught teens music production and songwriting aligned to state education standards – I learned a bevy of skills. I did everything from new business development and closing deals to creating online content for teachers to designing marketing collateral and our website, and of course teaching classes.
Even though I had collected this diverse skill set centered around creativity and business, when it came time to explain to a decision maker what I could offer and why they should hire me, I fell flat. I know this because I didn’t get the job.
Although it was tough, I used this feedback to my advantage. If a potential employer said “we would love to hire you but…” I took whatever they said and figured out how I could become better in that area. If I answered an interview question and I got a lukewarm response, I would prepare for when I was asked that question again.
I also started to become more proactive in learning how to answer difficult questions. I then would listen to podcasts or interviews of great speakers and pick up on phrases and words that caught my attention or tapped into an emotion and added them to my arsenal.
In addition to all of that, I started to research topics such as business and creativity to figure out what was needed next in corporations I wanted to work for. That is when I picked up photography. I put my head down for 10 months, submerging myself in the art and waited for the perfect opportunity to arise so that I could pounce on it.
One day such an opportunity arose, and I found myself interviewing for a newly created position with The Home Depot that combined not only my freshly acquired photography skills, but also my music, video, design and marketing skills, This time I was ready and prepared to articulate exactly what I could do and bring to the table – and I landed the gig.
Can you think of an opportunity you may have missed out on because you didn’t properly communicate what it is you do? This doesn’t only apply to job interviews, it can also be relevant if you are courting a potential client for your business or freelance work.
I challenge you to take some time to become a better communicator. If you have taken the time to learn valuable skills, you can literally speak doors open when you can properly explain what it is you do – I know from experience.