On March 13, I participated in the annual College of Design Dean's Reception an event intended to welcome back the students and parents who have applied and been accepted to the U of M, and to offer additional information about the University from Onestop, academic advisors, faculty, and students. This was my third Dean's Reception, so I like to think of myself knowledgeable when talking to students and parents about the College.
This year was a unique experience for me. I generally have a great time speaking with students and their parents, giving my background as a transfer student, and providing information as to why the U of M is a fantastic choice.
This year, however, I was approached by a mother and her daughter who were interested in the program. Ironically, their two colleges of choice were Arizona State University (where I attended previously), and the U of M. They picked my brain for differences and similarities between the two, and I provided the knowledge that I had from both of my experiences.
During my conversation with them, I provided my professional portfolio to browse, along with my laptop and website to show. Karen, the mother, asked me to flip through my website and tell her about it. As I was doing so she became more impressed, which shocked me a little bit.
Suddenly, I saw some excitement fall across her face as she pulled out a business card. She explained she is a realtor in Arizona and is trying to sell a lovely home set upon a mountain. . . for the small price of six million dollars. Her struggle however, was marketing the property efficiently and effectively.
Before I knew it I was being asked to produce a booklet of photographs from a professional photographer, which she already had, and a website like mine to market the property. She asked me to give her a quote for my services, something I am highly unfamiliar with, and we would get it pulled together as soon as possible.
The moral of this story is to always present yourself with confidence, knowledge, and professionalism. When stepping into events like this, where it is expected to have these types of materials, show everything you have done to take that extra step in marketing yourself.
If you don't already, get business cards made that reflect who you are and don't be afraid to pass them out. You never know who you will meet, or where, so it is important to always be prepared.