Are You Devaluing Your Expertise?

I was given the opportunity to speak to two different website design classes at Pima Community College. A colleague of mine, who is the professor, asked me to come in and present a little bit about what my company does, and how we do it. I didn’t come prepared with a long presentation, or predefined program of what I wanted to talk about, and I used it as an opportunity to allow the students to ask me, the owner/founder/CEO of a web design and internet marketing company, about what we do.

I got a lot of questions, ranging from how they better prepare themselves from an employment standpoint to how they might go off and start their own freelance businesses. They asked questions about the ways in which I’ve grown my business, such as where we get our business from and how we charge for our projects. It was inspiring to hear people interested in this field, and it was a great opportunity for me to reflect on, really, the depth of my own experience in this field.

I am a professional in my field, and I have grown numb to how much I knowledge & experience I really have.  When you become unaware of your own expertise, you are devaluing of that knowledge and experience. I know a lot more than I give myself credit for, and I have a much better skill set in communicating that expertise, than I have given myself credit for.  Putting myself in a classroom of students who are wanting to learn was kind of like looking in a mirror.  I was able to look back at myself, from the outside, and appreciate the experience of having 13 years in this business.  What a cool feeling.

I found that my initial answers to the students began at a much higher level.  It was me assuming they understood a lot more about the subject than they actually did. It put me in a position to give them even more context to better understand  my answer.

My main takeaway from the experience is this: My own professionalism, expertise, and success has an opportunity to grow in proportion to my ability to effectively teach and communicate my own experience and knowledge to those that seek it.

Read More

How To Apply For A Web Design Job

While doing a Q&A session for students at the Pima Community College web design class, one of the questions I was asked was; What does an employer want to see as experience when applying for a web design job?

To me, there are a few critical components missed by most candidates that apply for a position with my company… and solving this screw up is a lot simpler than you might think!  SUBMIT A COVER LETTER!

Let me share a big secret about our hiring process. When we have a job posted on our website, we will ask candidates to submit a cover letter, resume and relevant details about their background.  The application form that they can fill out allows them to upload these pieces of information. The trick that most applicants fall right into is that we chose not to require any of those fields. So, they can leave any of the fields that we ask for blank.

A lot of applicants skip the cover letter.  Why?  I’m not sure, but I believe it’s the most critical to provide an employer a window into who you are, your background is and why you want the job.

Let’s face it most of the candidates are not perfectly aligned with what the position requires. You might NOT be the perfect fit, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong for the job.  There are a lot of candidates that don’t have the exact skills or exact experience going into a job as the employer might want and that’s OK.

I explain the importance of the cover letter this way:  Nobody who is currently employed at my company submitted their application without a cover letter. In other words, if you don’t have a cover letter with your resume you are not going to get an interview. You are not going to get the job.

When writing a cover letter, let your passion and excitement for the position come through.  Build trust by demonstrating both you ability to be sincere and why you’re competent to do the job.  Explain how your job history is relevant and how activities that might not be on your resume make you a great candidate for the job.  If there are any gaps in experience, how will you overcome those challenges?  What are you already doing to learn and come up to speed?

If most employers have the same experience as I do, submitting a great cover letter is your best opportunity to set yourself apart from other qualified candidates.

Read More