Skype is relatively new to me. I probably heard the word, knew it was some form of communications technology, and knew some people used it instead of long distance and used it to communicate with family or celebrate special events. But that was all I knew and even that was fuzzy. This year that changed.
Integral part of doing business internationally
Skype has become an integral part of how I do business with my virtual clients. Design Resumes (my company) was built on a face-to-face concept. My peers who know me well, like Dawn Bugni, know that I have spent most of my career writing resumes and other career marketing materials while the client is in my office with me. Dawn has often remarked that she finds that incredible because writing in front of people while they can see every keystroke is foreign to her. She gathers information via the phone and e-mail and then writes.
For me, it evolved as the fastest way for me to get the information out of my clients and bring them into the process. I use worksheets too to gather information, select keywords, and words to describe the client’s personality but I have found that being on the same page, so to speak, helped in the process.
However, in the growing world of technology, I can’t expect all of my clients to come to my Central Wisconsin office. I have the ability to communicate with clients from almost anywhere. I could work just with phone or e-mail but then I lose some of the interaction factor. I no longer write the whole resume while the client watches but I do enough information gathering, set-up, and formatting to make sure that we are meeting the client’s goals.
Using Skype allows me to share my screen with the client no matter where they are located geographically. Last week on Friday, a client in Vancouver, BC contacted me by e-mail and said that she really wanted to work with me but had a deadline of July 29 for a position she wanted to apply for online. I told her that Skype would let us do that easily.
My client downloaded Skype and I taught her some of the basics to make sure we were on the same page, and since then, we conducted several interviews to discuss strategies and goals in the resume process with her, I showed her resources, explained the differences between the presentation style resume and the text version for online applications, and set up her LinkedIn account.
I have finished her resume, reviewed it with her on Skype, converted it to a text format, and then helped her apply for the position by sharing the screen and talking through the process with her.
I also use the chat feature on Skype. Jason Alba and I talk back and forth that way a lot. We can share links and check to see if one of us can answer a question or just touch base without interrupting work flow. That’s how Jason asked me to write the post I did for him on his JibberJobber site yesterday.
I also use the chat feature with clients to get links to them or even just touch base between contacts. I have both used the chat feature and the full Skype features with other colleagues both in the US and internationally.
There is a webcam in my laptop and I have used that with a few clients but since most of the time I am on a larger monitor and sharing screens, I don’t find the web cam as useful. I have given thought to investing in a separate web cam that would work with my larger monitor so that I can work the way I am most comfortable (large monitor, external keyboard and mouse) while letting the client have the personal contact that comes from seeing someone face-to-face.
I could see interview coaching made easier using the webcam. When I see someone’s facial expressions or hand gestures, I can understand how they tend to communicate better. I would assume that some companies use Skype to interview candidates.
What about you?
Have you tried using Skype or another similar technology? Could you see it helping with your business, job, or job search? If you wanted to network with someone across the country, you could easily Skype with them and share your resume, discuss the important points and ask them if they see opportunity for you.
Yes, there are many ways to do the same thing. I love technology so I am always going to play with new toys to see what works for me and the way I like to communicate or work. But I think that when people stay open to new ways of doing things, they may discover ways of doing things that they never thought of before.