We are all in Business Development

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who had recently moved to Melbourne asked me to assess her resumé, which I duly obliged.

I noticed within her extensive – but incredibly impressive – document that she had zero information about her personal endeavours. It was a glaringly obvious omission to me; as obvious as a coffee stain or dog-chewed edge would be to the next person.

Now, I know for a fact that she is an interesting, fun and dynamic person who has a range of interests outside of work. She is always up for a challenge and a new endeavour and loves the odd beverage of a hops-based nature.

While I wasn’t exactly advocating for her to place “beer swindler extraordinaire” on her resumé – depending on the role she’s going for of course – surely she should include things like her interests, hobbies and recreation? I did ponder at the time that she might have had a solid reason. I mean, she’s a switched-on, young woman. Perhaps she thought that if an interviewer wanted to know more about her personal life, they could ask in the interview, thereby leaving more space on her resumé for relevant information about her work experience.

Not backing down

However, I raised it as a serious point with her and was fairly adamant she reconsiders; in these days of 1,000 resumés crossing the eyeball of a hiring manager or even recruitment agent, having a bit about the person you are outside of work is perhaps even more valuable information than pure work-related experience. That and also it’s a useful technique to give yourself a fighting chance of staying in the first cut and at least getting an interview.

At The Final Whistle, we advise athletes who often have zero office or even work experience to hero their sports achievements by re-framing them against relevant soft skills that employers are crying out for. Therefore, why should non-athletes be any different? People hire people, not resumés.

What are your intentions with my business?

There was also another major reason for making my case and the point of this post. She had virtually no networks here in Melbourne as she’d left Sydney. While she had done a bit of travel here, her network was limited to a few ex-work colleagues (not really useful if you are looking outside of your company for roles!) and the odd friend she’d met on her travels.

If I were her prospective employer and notice a range of outside interests on her resumé, I am almost certain that she will be looking to pick up those pursuits in her new city, and will, therefore, open herself up to a range of new networks. And by logical deduction, she is opening up my business to a range of new networks.

Business is no longer just done between 4 walls, chained to your desk. You are always being observed, being noticed and therefore you are always representing your company, whether you like it or not. I have heard of regular people who got in hot water at a social occasion and the story got leaked to the media. Next thing you know, the company got abusive phone calls and negative press. Extreme? Not really; it’s the world in which we live.

Likewise, how often in a social setting do you get asked, “What do you do?” and, “Who do you work for?” As soon as you answer, you’re actually on your way to initiating business development, even if you pass on the details of Steve, the actual BDM with the glossy business card. Thing is, Steve’s not getting a call without your connection.

So remember, great ideas and great connections don’t always keep office hours.

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