Number One Networking Tip ….Mastering the “Elevator Speech”!

Number One Networking Tip ….Mastering the “Elevator Speech”!

Elevator-SpeechAs you meet people for the rest of your days… as you network your way through life… there is a question you will be asked countless times.

The question is…”so Tom – what do you do?”. Rightly or wrongly… what “we do” defines us in the marketplace/work force/conversational world…and it is hard to find a time when that question isn’t asked. Whether you meet someone leaving church… in the gym locker room ….or over coffee in the local diner…that is often one of the first  snippets of conversation to take place with a stranger.

You really need to have a good… and brief… response ready to roll off your tongue! While your expertise in responding might be less important over coffee at the diner than in a business networking situations… but … is it really?? Networking is networking – your objective is always the same – to establish a relationship however brief with others. Brief because it is the first contact… from there both parties decide whether to just file away the business card…or to continue the dialogue.

This is sometimes referred to as an “elevator speech” because you can deliver it in the time it takes to ride an elevator to your destination. Which means it is no longer than 30 seconds!

Like anything else you are going to do a number of times…it makes great sense to figure out the  best way to do it…then “cook book” it. Use the coffee shop type of dialogue example as a chance to hone your response.

My elevator speech?

Thank you for asking. I am in the business of helping organizations get the work done by providing both temporary workers and direct hire placement services to fill job openings. As a matter of course doing this, we find people jobs. We work in four specialty areas – accounting/finance – legal – healthcare and office administration.

Shake me awake in the middle of the night and ask me the question and these fifty-three words just come out!

One of the outcomes of effective networking and a great network is the ability to parlay that into interviewing opportunities. Remember the Six degrees of separation theory; that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum (usually) of six steps.

Your elevator speech is an opening comment to the entire network building process; the network that can yield you opportunities in the “hidden and unpublished” job market….to get the job offer you want!

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How to Best Follow-Up After an Interview!

How to Best Follow-Up After an Interview!

OK….the interview seemed to go well… you are now on your way to your next destination and you are thinking to yourself “wonder when I will hear from them?”

You have already made a serious interviewing error!

follow upPart of your responsibility during the interview comes near the end when you say, “I have really enjoyed talking with you….and it would seem that my credentials and experience are a good match for your open position. If that is the case from your perspective, what is the next step?”

 

Listen carefully and ask questions to flesh out the details.

What you want to know is:

  • How many follow-up interviews with other people is part of the process?
  • What else is involved (reference checks, etc.)?
  • When might those take place?

Without being overly assertive, you want to end this line of dialogue with a statement such as, “so what I hear you saying is that all things being equal, I should hear from you – one way or the other – by next week?”

In other words, you close out the interview so that as you head to your next destination you KNOW when you will hear back!

But you aren’t done yet… there are several other things you can do to promote your candidacy:

Send a one-page (only!) follow-up letter via U.S. Mail. Not email… U.S. Mail gets opened and read. Mail it the same day or the next day at the latest… you want it to arrive very quickly so it can have an impact on the deliberations regarding the different people interviewed for the open slot.

In that letter you of course thank the interviewer for their time, state that you are very interested in taking the next step…AND you mention one of key factors of the job as one of your assets…what you bring to the table. …such as “I think my recent experience installing a new accounting system at XYZ Corp will enable me to hit the ground running on day one!” If at all possible “mirror” the job listing with words and phrases that will have the interviewer saying “wow – this seems like a very good fit!”.

I wrote before about creating a “brag book” (Moving Up the Career Ladder; How to Get that Next Job – March 24, 2014). A “brag book” is a collection of positive things about you written by others… testimonials if you  will. If you have done this, dig out a short one and include it in your follow-up letter. Such as:

“A year or so ago, I received a note from my CFO that read in part – “Bill – thanks for the great job on the transition team. Your contributions were critical to success”.

Third-party testimonials can help further confirm that you are the hire to make!

Now what to do when the employer doesn’t get back to you as discussed? Stay cool…no need to get upset about it. Stuff happens. Shoot an email to your contact or make a tele call. “I am sure you are busy, but I wanted to follow-up on our interview last week. I recall understanding that I would hear back by now. Can you give me a status report? By the way, I am still very interested.”

Closing out the interview will let you know when to expect to hear back as well as give you a chance to further sell yourself!

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Strengthen Your Network…To Get That Job Offer!

Strengthen Your Network…to Get That Job Offer!

Often it will be via your network that your next job offer will materialize. You use your network to make connections that lead to job leads. Don’t overlook the “six degrees of separation” theory * ….where a friend of a friend, etc. can lead to you talking to the right person at the right time!

Building your network never ends and requires diligence to follow through on every-day events. Yet it is a most worthwhile endeavor. Leveraging your career is aided greatly by the breadth and quality of your network!

The following is adapted from an article by Lauren Thaler as appeared in the newsletter of BizConnect – a Washington, DC networking organization (http://www.bizconnectonline.com/).  Many thanks to Lauren and BizConnect for letting me share it with you! BizConnect is an organization worth looking into to expand your networking contacts!

networkingEffective networks can make a huge difference in your personal growth and success.  To say nothing of getting Final Four tickets, a physician referral while on vacation and a host of other very useful and practical end-results!

Lauren has some great thoughts how to improve and grow yours!! Read on…..

Strengthen Your Network by Lauren Thaler

As a motivated networker, you have likely given a lot of thought to how you network. Which networking groups and events should you join? How do you introduce yourself to a new contact? What is your approach to following up with potential clients or referral sources?

There is a lot of strategy behind networking—that’s for sure. And if you are like other network-minded people, you probably give more time and attention to these types of thoughts than the average working professional. In fact, it may sometimes feel like you already know everything there is to know about networking! Well – here are two ways to strengthen your network that you may not have thought of yet.

Consider building your network on personal interests and passions you enjoy instead of professional similarities like industry, organization, or job level. As Patricia Fletcher of Inc. Magazine astutely points out, “Our long-term constants provide the base from which we can grow into successful entrepreneurs and contributors to society.” Therefore, building your network on these constants may offer a better foundation than building your network on variables; your job and your industry of focus may very well change in the years to come.

You may have heard the next piece of networking advice, but we’re going to really dig into it and provide a new angle that you may not have thought of before. Traditional networking guidance suggests that we should try to meet new contacts based on what we would like to receive from them in the form of sales and referrals. However, have you considered a slightly different approach—Instead of using a method of what can be gained from others, consider an approach that puts you in charge of delivering the value. By helping or bringing value to others first, you are boosting your social capital and making a strong first impression. Being known as a giver instead of a taker often means that you will get more in return in the form of referrals, introductions and ultimately sales opportunities.

Have you tried these strategies before? If so, was there a noticeable improvement to your networking experiences? If you haven’t thought of growing your network in these ways, give them a try.     ########

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* Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.

Top 10 Soft Skills You Need to Have to Get Hired!

Top 10 Soft Skills You Need to Have to Get Hired!

top 10How Are Your Soft Skills?

Most Hiring Managers Say Soft Skills Just as Important (as hard skills) *

A majority of employers believe that soft skills (less tangible traits associated with one’s personality, such as a positive attitude) are just as important as hard skills (abilities that are learned to perform a specific job function and can be measured, such as operating a computer program).

Career Builder’s survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals found the 10 most popular soft skills that companies say they look for when hiring:

1. Strong Work Ethic – 73%

2. Dependability – 73%

3. Positive Attitude – 72%

4. Self-motivated – 66%

5, Team-oriented – 60%

6. Organization (can manage multiple priorities) – 57%

7. Works well under pressure – 57%

8. Effective Communications – 56%

9. Flexibility – 51%

10. Confidence – 36%

OK…time for some self-analysis…. How do you stack up against these 10 factors? Some will take more time than others to improve…your objective is that a reference check of your current and past  employers will grade you favorably in these ten areas. It also seems to me that these are 10 factors to achieve success in life as well as on the job. Take the time to rate yourself on a 1-10 scale and then get started on getting all of the ratings in order.

If you are on the job market, print this and put in your job-hunting portfolio  so as to keep  in the forefront as you go through the process, especially interviewing!

* Adapted from “Most Hiring Managers Say Soft Skills Just as Important” from Staffing Success – the publication of the American Staffing Association.

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For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved