Bake your way to a new job

Posted: August 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Bake your way to a new job

Picture yourself on the rooftop of a popular downtown hotel in the middle of Chicago enjoying a glass of wine on a warm summer evening and mingling with friends. You’ve just found yourself networking.

That was where I found myself last night, although I was there, along with a fellow entrepreneur, to meet with an advertising agency that works with both of our companies. Despite sounding professional, I felt like I was the third wheel on a pseudo-date. To keep myself from being anything other than a wallflower, I struck up a conversation with the folks around us. Enter Jim and John. Jim and John met at the Air Force Academy in 1979 and, thanks to LinkedIn, reconnected a few years ago after Jim hunted John down.

A short while later, and a few mistaken conversations about boating and golf, we had begun an enjoyable banter about business, books and hiring. Jim is a Senior Vice President at a large retirement planning firm who, despite enlisting a talented recruiter to source quality candidates, prefers to hire from within his network of colleagues or from a trusted word-of-mouth recommendation.

Then there’s John who shared with me the secret to landed a job with him, and apparently John and I as we quickly realized. Warm apple pie. You read correctly.

John is a human resources executive with one of the Top 5 audit, consulting, accounting firms in the country. This guy has seen his fill of CPA’s, MBA’s, MAAA’s, CFA’s and every other initial under the sun. What he had never seen before was someone bring a warm, homemade apple pie to an interview – topped with a helping of honesty.

The candidate was a woman who was recently widowed, needed a new job – as do many people in today’s market – and she appealed to John’s human side.  Whoa!

I was blown away. Wine glass down. Smile from ear to ear. This was no gimmick. It wasn’t some crazy idea a marketing person thought of for her. It was the essence of personal branding done right.

  • Did she go out on a limb? Oh yeah.
  • Was it risky? Definitely.
  • Could it have gone poorly? Maybe.
  • Did she get the job? You bet.

As a chocolate loving, vegetarian I rarely eat pie, homemade or not. Be that as it may, there’s a great chance I would hire a candidate who cared enough about working for my company that they baked me a pie, apple or any other flavor.

If you really want to land a job, find a way to brand yourself and make sure the interviewer remembers you when you walk in – and out – of the door.

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