Being Ready to Take the Opportunity

I’ve been thinking about career trajectories a lot recently, and memories of my college jobs re-surfaced. The most random job interview popped into my head, and inspired my post about being ready to take an opportunity. I had just moved back to Texas, and I was working as a waitress. I was getting pretty sick of the waitress gig, and I’d told my parents that I was ready to start job hunting again. Then, I started apartment hunting, and my mom joined me for some Saturday tours. While viewing the apartment that I ultimately rented, my mom says, “You know, Ashley, you could do this job. You could be a leasing agent. You should ask her (the leasing agent) about it.” I was not dressed for an interview, and I thought it might be a little awkward to ask the leasing agent if I could interview for her job. After some whispering to my mom about these thoughts, my mom just asked the leasing agent, “You don’t happen to be hiring do you? My daughter would be great at this job.” Surprisingly, the leasing agent replied, “Actually, YES, we really need someone right now. I would LOVE to have someone else in the office, we’re slammed. The manager is downstairs, I’ll tell her you want to talk to her about a job.” Wait a minute, I’m not dressed properly! Wait a minute, I don’t have a copy of my resume! Wait a minute, my mom is here, you can’t go to a job interview and bring your mom! Wait…

The leasing agent told the manager that I was looking for both an apartment and a job, and sent me in to speak with her about 5 minutes later. After apologizing for my lack of professional clothes and resume, I ended up having a great interview with the manager. She suggested that I return the following day with a resume, and ended up hiring me the next day! To this day, she’s a great reference and mentor, and she still laughs about how she took a chance on the girl with no leasing experience, who interviewed in shorts and a tank top.

I tell this story to say that you should always be ready to take the opportunity. Maybe you’re not in your best interview suit, with a nice resume ready to hand out. But, maybe you’ve got the right skills at the right time. Maybe you’re exactly the kind of person they’re looking for, the kind of person who can make a good impression on someone without the mask we all wear during a “formal” interview. Do you have your elevator pitch down, so that when you happen to run into someone with connections, you can speak to your abilities? Do you have a professional email address and your personal voicemail set up in a way that conveys your professional abilities? As career-oriented people, I think we need to make sure that we’re “ready” at all times. This doesn’t mean going to the gym in a three-piece suit, just in case your boss’ boss shows up, and you don’t have to whip out a current copy of your resume every time you step into Starbucks. Being ready is about your attitude, and your willingness to pursue an opportunity when it arises… even if it arises outside your “business hours.” I’ve had several opportunities presented at a time when it wasn’t convenient for me, but I took action and had success.

3 thoughts on “Being Ready to Take the Opportunity

  1. Ok so clearly I’m behind AGAIN in blog reading 😉 But Ashley, this is another fantastic post! First, lucky girl to have a mom like that. She not only looks out for her daughter, but was able to connect your skills to a job (she doesn’t work in HR, does she? 😉 Second, your main point is so right – you just never know when an opportunity will pop up. I’m personally still struggling with how to integrate my blog into my elevator speech, but I really want to just in case I’m in a scenario that could lead me to something new and exciting!

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  2. Glad you enjoyed the post, Nicole! I know several bloggers make business cards to hand out that specifically relate to their blog. In several situations, I’ve been able to bring mine up along the lines of, “I actually just wrote a blog post talking about this subject, I’ll send you the link.” It’s just as relevant as mentioning an article you read, kind of casual and not “bragging”, but still gets the word out that you’re a blogger 🙂
    Re: my mom, she’s just a people person who wants to see her daughter succeed :)Definitely an encouragement when I’ve felt down about my skills!

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  3. Pingback: Once… » Consciously Corporate - When business is your life.

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