... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

q is for qualifications

Sunday, April 20, 2014

(I apologize for being a day late with my 'Q' topic; my husband whisked me away for the weekend... but more about that later!)

I've decided to write about qualifications because there are thousands of people in the U.S holding them, who just can't find jobs.  Of course the current state of the economy has plenty to do with that, but perhaps you'll be (as) surprised (as I was) to discover just how big Americans are on networking.
Surely you've all heard the phrase 'it's not what you know that matters: it's who you know,' well this is definitely the case in America.  Yes, I know most countries work this way too, but the preferred networking strategy in the US is handing out / swapping business cards.  It seems like everyone has a card and I was surprised to find kids younger than me - many still in university - handing them out, anxious to make an impression!  While I worked in fashion, I couldn't turn my head without receiving a card from an aspiring designer, writer, model or actor looking for leg up... or even from someone wanting to hire me.  I'd end up with a full bag of business cards after every event and hardly any memory of who they'd come from, never quite sure that this is an effective networking tool.

But card-swapping happens in most business settings, and sometimes socially too.  Americans respond very well to this and will often make notes on the card about their first impressions of the owner.  I never got the hang of this, I mean it's quite different to where I'm from, where we think handing someone a card with your phone number is 'stuck-up.'  I think most Australians (well the friends I've spoken to about this anyway) feel that if we're going to be friends, why can't you just tell me your number so I can save it into my phone?  Does handing me a card with your position somehow make me lucky to be considered as your friend?  Or do you have your dream job and just like to show off?  What's funny though, is that some of the cards I've received from people without qualifications say things under their name like: amateur photographer, animal lover, student at blah blah college, aspiring interior decorator... and so on.  I used to think, 'you paid $25 to print 100 of these?  Why don't you just tell people how to find you on FB so we can read your profile?' lol

Anyway, that's just how it is.  In situations outside of interviews, the people who can hire you are more interested in the impression you make upon them rather than the kind of qualification you hold anyway.  It won't matter to the magazine editor, you've just met at a charity, that you have a masters in journalism if you're an introvert who doesn't approach them all night.  Chances are that the out-spoken lass who's been fetching the drinks and throwing suggestions for features out there will be the one who lands the J.O.B - qualified or not (and business card or not! :P)

1 comment

  1. I am very glad we share a circle on G+. If not for that I might have overlooked this post. It is quite provocative! I could write a lengthy response to it, but I'll just make this observation: Before I retired I always had b-cards provided by my employers, but occasionally used them on a personal level, for convenience. When I retired I still took some part-time jobs so bought b-card stock and printed a few at a time so I could change information as situations changed. Now I have not worked for pay in over a year but volunteer for several organizations. On some projects for them it's handy for people to contact me so my card now has only my name and contact info. That's easy, cheap and covers the many people who are not on Facebook. Best wishes, and keep writing, Mary at Variety, the Spice of Life




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Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.


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spring in Austin TX

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