By Carl Hourihan
We all know the adage, “It’s who you know, not what you know.” Although this isn’t 100% true all the time, it certainly helps when you’re trying to start a new career! Emily Taubenblatt led our workshop, helping participants to gain the skills needed to meet and connect with the people you need to know for starting a new career.
Emily gave the group a better understanding of elevator pitches, explaining when to use them (particularly at events like ours at GreenHomeNYC), and what to include. She suggested you make your points relevant to the listener and answer the following questions:
- What can you do?
- What do you want to do?
- What do you want from the person you’re talking to?
As we all know, companies are dependent on openings and hiring cycles, which don’t always line up with our own schedules. One way to get your foot in the door before the hiring cycle begins is to set up an informal interview, get coffee or lunch with someone from the company, pick their brains, and, most importantly, listen to what they have to say! Listening is the most important part of any conversation and when job searching this holds especially true. Let them do the talking, and ask relevant questions; eventually they will ask you to tell them about yourself. That’s when you should bring up your intentions.
There are a few rules to follow for any conversation you have while job searching. Give the person you’re talking to your card at some point during the conversation. If you don’t have one yet there are several websites that will make them for you for free. And quick followup is key! Follow-up timing is on a sliding scale: if it was an informal interview, within 24 hours is fine, if it was a job interview, follow up immediately!
A useful way to expand your network is through LinkedIn. Be sure to keep your LinkedIn up to date as this can act as an informal online resume. Ensure that your bio is filled out and reflects the type of work you are trying to get into. If you’re unsure of what you want to do, highlight your skills and keep it general. If you’re targeting a job, make your bio reflect what that position is looking for. Your bio is also a good place for your elevator pitch! You should connect with everyone you know through LinkedIn, adding other social media that is often used in your field.
Leveraging your network and strategically communicating with your contacts, whether in person or online, are keys to getting the job you want.