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Friday, August 5, 2011

As a creativity yenta, I frequently get resumes from potential clients. Frequently I find these resumes rather impressive. So impressive, in fact, that under other circumstances, I might get a little jealous. Under other circumstances--as in, if we weren't inhabiting an its’-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it economy--these people would probably be giving me directions on how they like their coffee.
But since we do live in an economy that’s bad and getting worse, an economy which can sometimes make you hopeful for The Rapture as a ticket out, I work with said clients to make them understand: you’re resume is great, I’m super impressed, but to get hired, you have to make an employer understand that you are a valuable return upon their investment.
To do that you must constantly upgrade your skills, your education and network. For example, I worked in TV news for years. I did a lot of fancy jobs on fancy shows. I have a lot of friends still in TV. But if  I wanted to return to TV, just sending in my resume and asking my old friends for help would get me a whole lot of nada. I haven’t worked in TV since 2008. All of my “skills” are at least 3 years old…well, except for my innate ability to throw phones at people who miss their deadlines and make bad writers cry. That gift will stay with me forever. The gift that keeps on giving.
But... I can’t do digital editing, I don’t shoot, I don't have my own equipment, etc. So why would a network hire me? I’m going to cost them a large amount of money in benefits, or even a straight day rate, and they’re going to have to spend extra time and money training me. I was a history major who avoided math like an ugly date, but even I can see that in that situation, I would be a waste of their resources. The value I bring would not be a sufficient return on their investment. 
That sounds a little cold-blooded, right? Yup. As the man said, “The business of America is business.” And once you start thinking about yourself as a business, as a business that must succeed, and thinking about what skills you have, as well as what skills you lack, and how you would market yourself, and who would be receptive to that marketing……well, then you too can be in business. 

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