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Never Underestimate the Value of Casual Conversation

Even a casual conversation with a total stranger while sitting on an airplane can get you a job!

Never underestimate talking about what you can do because your confidence and talents may be exactly what a business owner seeks in a talented employee; the result can be a fun job thatprovides experience and a paycheck!   During a late afternoon flight returning from the Midwest from a vacation landed me a job as a trophy engraver, and honestly, I thought the employer was joking when she offered me the position.  She was serious; the job provided a stepping stone to bigger opportunities and proved to be quite rewarding!

You are your own walking resume.

Sitting in coach class beside a nicely dressed older woman, we struck up a casual conversation. She asked what I did for a living.  I said, “I own and operate a full service resume and freelance business writing/editing service specializing in crafting personalized resumes and professional profiles for professionals and businesses to position them for success.  I also support small businesses that produce newsletters or need proofreading and editing.  My background in journalism, which includes photojournalism, layout and design and news reporting.”

My background caught this woman’s attention.  As we talked further she learned that my work requires the need for attention to detail, meeting deadlines, creativity, and the right use of font styles and verbiage for certain projects.   Our conversation turned to how I used the computer, easily learned new programs, and used creative writing and layout and design skills in my job.  Her face lit up as I described the same skills she sought for position at her company.

Be confident in how you add value to an employer’s need.

This woman, Kay, owned an awards company, and needed an engraver; someone who knew how to work a computer, was creative, and had a good work ethic.  She needed a part-time engraver and I found her job intriguing.  We connected.  Our casual conversation served as my interview; she liked my ability to work a computer, learn new programs, and perform layout and design from basic information.  By flight’s end, she’d offered me the position, established my salary and told me to show up by mid-week to interview.  It happened so suddenly I thought she was kidding.  I didn’t show up at her store until the deadline date, but when I met her that day she immediately put me to work.

I operated a computer-based engraving machine that required placement of the words on varied sizes of metal plates or glass objects.  Placement and proper wording were imperative, so from the client orders I had to determine size of the lettering, measure placement and layout, font style and then set the machine for the proper settings and perform the tedious task of etching the plates or glass objects.  Incorrect plates were tossed, so getting the job done right the first time was essential.  I seemed to be a natural at it!  It was great fun. I worked with great people, and thoroughly enjoyed the part-time income I generated through this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

All experience adds to your resume portfolio.

As my business progressed, this job was short-lived, but lent itself to experience that proved valuable.  I gained insight to the tedious job of engraving, sign printing, and the accuracy required in more artistic jobs like graphic design.  It proved the value of casual conversation and self-confidence when talking with someone about one’s personal experience, skills and knowledge.   That boss liked my attitude, my clean appearance–albeit I was in jeans and t-shirt when I met and interviewed with her on the plane–and the polite manner in which I spoke.  She liked me and I had a customer presence that intrigued her.  All these attributes are important to prospective employers regardless of where you meet them.

Your next employer is in that Starbuck’s line.

Never underestimate your value or self-confidence when meeting new people.  You never know when the person you meet may be a potential employer who offers you a job point blank.  The next time you’re waiting in line at Starbucks, smile at the people around you and welcome their casual conversation.  It could be a break for a job that brings personal and professional rewards along with that welcome paycheck!