I was thinking this morning about an opportunity I had a few weeks back to be a guest speaker in a class at Arizona State University. This was a class that I took my senior year when I was student at ASU, and now a colleague and friend of mine is teaching the class. The class is titled Residential Construction and it is within Construction Management degree at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
For those of you not familiar with the program, believe it or not, it is a four year degree. It deals with all aspects of the various construction industries (land, heavy/highway, and residential) from a business management aspect. I was always interested more in the residential portion of the construction industry and so this senior level class really stoked my fire for the home building industry. This being an industry I spent 15 years working, in a variety of aspects. So when the opportunity arose to speak at this class, I said yes without a moment’s hesitation. My focus for my presentation was to be New Home Sales and Marketing.
As I was preparing my presentation I kept looking at it from a few different angles. One, being a sales person at heart, I wanted to be able to connect with my audience. Two, I had to keep topics from going too deep on me as I only had a finite amount of time to speak. Three, and most importantly, I wanted to convey my passion and enjoyment for this industry, and real estate in general, as the professor I had did for me. Oh, and it also gave me a chance to create a Power Point presentation again, and what could be better than that!
The presentation went well, although I will tell you connecting with college kids today is a lot tougher than I anticipated. It definitely made me an opponent of laptops in the class room. For one, the typing is distracting, and two, in today’s age of wireless access, I’m pretty sure a couple of them were just updating their Facebook page or checking out the latest celeb gossip on Perez Hilton’s blog. But I gave it my all, and received some pretty good feedback from my friend and the students.
New Home Sales and Marketing is such a vast topic to me, and there are so many things to cover. But one thing I wanted to work into the end under the guise of marketing and not necessarily related to the new home industry, was speaking to them about their online presence and being in control of their branding. Unfortunately there was not a lot of time to go over this, and I have already volunteered with my friend to come back to his class to speak just about this topic.
But just in the few minutes we had to speak about it, I could tell they didn’t get it. They were definitely not seeing the value of being in control of their online brand and what prospective employers will see about them by simply typing their name into Google. I mean what could be more important to a soon to be college graduate and job/career hunter? Okay, having been there, I can think of a number of things also that took up my brain cells at that time. But you get my point. Never has there been an easier, more affordable time to market yourself to the world. Now I’m not saying something as powerful as ActiveRain is right for them, although I will plug it when I go back. But at the very least, creating a couple different profiles online beyond just your Facebook page. Put something out there of value for a possible HR manager to find other than a tagged photo of you face down on the front lawn on Manzanita (an ASU dorm). You could hear crickets when I spoke about this.
Hence, I will go back to this class and hopefully speak the entire time about this and its importance. Of course it is a three hour class, and even I have my limits. But it should be a class in college, regardless of major. And every student should be required to take it in order to receive your diploma. I mean, ASU held my diploma over a $40 parking ticket, so I think a career advancing class like this would be equally justifiable. It is never too early, or too late in my case, to start branding yourself online. If I, and by that I mean we, had these technological opportunities available to me and someone grabbed me by the arm and drilled home how important this stuff is, I would have been all over it. What a head start it would give me.
Do you think ASU would let me, a B average student at best, add this class to the required curriculum? I did, after all, pay that parking ticket. Go Devils!!