Friday, July 11, 2008

Asking for Something: What’s in It for the Other Person?

I’ve been listening to several teleseminars about using social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter for business purposes. The basic premise is that people do business with people they know, like and trust.

According to several of these teleseminars, there’s another premise that should be considered when you are trying to get someone to do something you want or to buy from you. What’s in it for the other person?

Okay, you may be saying. But what does this have to do with college applications, internships, jobs and careers? Let’s look at these topics:

College applications: When you are preparing to write college-application essays you should be thinking: What do I have to offer the colleges to which I’m applying? Sure, you’ve already thought about what the colleges have to offer you as you made a tentative list. But now you have to switch your mindset:

Have I followed my passion during high school so that I have something interesting to add to the freshman class? Something that will contribute to the range of college life? Or am I one of thousands of high school students whose main resume items are class president, high school soccer team, worked as a camp counselor during the summer, got good grades and good SATs?

Internships: When you’re ready to apply for internships you should be thinking: What do I have to offer these companies to which I’m applying? Again, you’ve already thought about what the companies have to offer you. Now switch your mindset:

Have I demonstrated any interest before in the kind of work the company does? Can I get a letter of recommendation from someone that I have demonstrated such an interest before? Have I presented myself to the company in emails and phone calls in such a way that the company will understand that I could be an asset as an intern instead of a drag on training time because I don’t even know how to write a professional email or speak on the phone in a business-like manner?

Got the idea? And the same concept is applicable to looking for a job and for looking for a position in a career path.

When you want college admission offices or internship, job or career possibilities to seriously consider you, take the time to prepare yourself so that you can present yourself in a way that demonstrates convincingly that there’s something in it for them.

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