Last year I created Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed to give back to my community. I wanted to do something for those around me that had found themselves without a means of paying their bills, wondering how they could ever afford a photo shoot if it is a challenge to put food on the table. I have been there. I know what it’s like to not have the money to pay the bills, to put all the bills in a hat and pull out the one you are going to pay this month. I have been without a home too. I have spent weeks living in my car, sleeping in it or on sofas. I know what it’s like to have nothing and I never want to be there again, ever!
I said to myself one day last summer, “what can I do to give back to all those that helped me? What can I do that will make people feel good and that will help them out of the jam they find themselves in?” What can I don’t have a lot of money, I don’t have a huge house or even a couch the average person can sleep on. I can take pictures and I do that well. I can take peoples portraits and I can help them look their best when recruiters and potential employers look at their resume’ on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. That is something I can do!
So back in August of 2009 I did my first Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed. I was impressed by how grateful everyone was and how it seemed to be big news that I was doing such a thing. I’m still not sure why being nice to people is news, but it got the word out to people and we were busy all day. I was able to make people smile because I was there to help in an unconventional way. There is nothing in this world as gratifying as lending a helping hand. Nothing feels so good as when you look into a person’s smiling face and they say, “Thank you.”
When Michelle Buckman of Fox 29 asked me if I wanted to do it again, how could I say no? So this time next week I will be making final preparations for the next session of Free Business Portraits for the Unemployed. This time we are going to be shooting at a job fair. Not just any job fair but Fox 29 (http://www.myfoxphilly.com) and JobCircle’s (http://www.jobcircle.com) “Jobs Gone Wild!” job fair! (http://www.jobsgonewild.com/)
These events are a tone of work for all involved. If you think about it, even the participating companies have a heck of an investment. There is the space they have to rent there is the booth (and trust me, they ain’t cheap), the staff to staff the booth, the onsite quick interview, the follow-up and review of all the resumes and inquiries they get and that only gets them to the point where a standard ad on a job board gets them. That’s a lot of work!
Are you giving back to yourself? Are you working as hard as these companies are working to land your next position? If you are trying to help place someone, are you coaching them to make sure that when they attend these events or go on interviews that they are dressed properly? Do you ave the same information on your LinkedIn or Facebook account as you do on your resume’? Do you have an image in person that matches your picture on social networking sites?
If you are not 100% with any of these questions, you want to attend this job fair. This event is going to be different. There will be the usual resume’ critiques and the companies looking to hire, but that is about where similarity ends. There is also going to be a personal stylist. Adrienne Simmons of “PS I Love You” (http://www.psiloveyoullc.com/) to give advice on your attire and your look. Does it match the position you are striving for? Or are you dressing for an entry level position?
Don’t forget to come see me too! Get your picture taken! Why not? You’re dressed nice anyway, you may as well get a good portrait done. Besides, your parents or spouse will love having an updated picture of you!
I hope to see you on the 28th at the Wachovia Center in South Philadelphia. Bring your resume and your smile!
Until next time, Happy Shooting!