About a week ago, I was asked to take part in an interview and photo shoot for an upcoming publication. I was very aware that during the interview, I would be asked questions like, what do you do, where do you work, what are your daily job functions, etc. This question made me cringe, because although I am happy doing multiple things with my life professionally, the possibility of appearing to be over exposed and over committed plagued my mind.
Ironically and somewhat thankfully, I happen to be apart of a network of talented young professionals who are all involved in more than one professional obligation. Some have day time jobs and a few businesses that they either own or are heavily involved in and they do a great job balancing it all out.
I happen to also be one of those individuals who is involved in several business ventures with multiples organizations and a plethora of community service projects. So, the answer to the question, “what do you do” is usually not easy to answer. When I first think about that question, it seems easy to answer. “I do XYZ”, but I really don’t do XYZ. I do NOPQRSTUVWX and sometimes Y.
When you are placed in a situation where you are a multi-faced individual professionally, you may end up asking yourself, is now the best time to say that I am involved with these other ventures? Will these other projects that I am working on be a deterrent to another individual hiring me? Is there an unknown conflict between some of the projects that I am working on and the individual that I am speaking with? Now, I have been known to over think a few things here and there, but in recent conversations with other young professionals, this seems to be a common worry/concern. Imagine attending a networking event. Who will you be at the event? Should you only be one of the many things that you represent? Is it ok to pass out different business cards at the event?
Well, as much as I would like to say, I am all-knowing and have the answer to this question, I don’t. Well…I didn’t have the answer, until I talked to my marketing consultant* this past weekend. My question was simple, how do you decide who you will be when you are a multi-faceted person professionally?
Now truly, you want to convey your success and capabilities to people who you meet at a networking event, but how do you do this when you represent so many things. Well, if you are at an industry specific networking event, of course you need to only represent that facet of your career, but if you are at a general networking event where everyone is discussing everything, what do you focus on?
You focus on you. You happen to be the nucleus of all of the talents that you possess, so you simply market yourself. Don’t bother with giving out 2, 3 or 4 business cards that explain the many faces of you. Instead, consider creating one business card that embodies all that you do in a tactful and efficient way.
If you are a person who simply focuses on one thing and you are dynamic at only that ,then perhaps this post doesn’t apply to you. Nonetheless, more and more, people are diversifying their portfolio and have become talented in several areas and in most cases, these talents are unrelated to one another.
So, network your heart away and continuously diversify your portfolio, but just be mindful of how you spread the word about your eclectic accomplishments.
Until next time…
*Special thanks to Cherice Johnson, Get Incited Marketing; www.getincited.com*