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The “Elevator Speech” of the 21st Century: Selling your Skills in 75 Words Print E-mail
Texting has become the preferred channel for communication among friends and family, and is starting to expand its sphere of influence to the world of job-hunting. Even for recruiters seeking an email--or, surprisingly, a snail-mail--application, the job market is often so flooded with applicants that they want to be sold on a candidate before even glancing at a resume or cover letter.
 
How do you sell your capabilities in 75 words or less? Look to the Elevator Speech for inspiration. This type of speech is designed to sell your brand, product, or skills in 30 seconds or less. It takes 20-25 seconds to read 75 words without sounding like an auctioneer (if you are an auctioneer, yours may be closer to 150 words). An elevator speech is a story, and therefore needs a beginning, middle, and end.
 
A good beginning hooks a reader or listener. The best way to write a hook for a job application is to spell out your skills. Don’t try to be crafty in your word choice--this is no time to go to town with a thesaurus. Be concise--for example: “I have over ten years of experience, including writing, editing, and photography.” You should be able to write a strong and succinct hook in 15-20 words at most.
 
The middle needs to provide the meat of your message. What can you do in the role for which you’re applying? How do your skills listed in your hook apply to your audience? Sticking with the journalist example: “I can manage freelance and editorial opinion writers, and shape the editorial voice of The Times. In my work with The Herald, I increased quarterly ad revenue by 60%.” In 25-35 words, provide detail about your experience.
 
The end is the most important part of your 75-words. The end sticks in your reader’s memory--so make it memorable. By now, you have anywhere from 40-55 words, so you have another 20-35 words to make a lasting impression. Ask yourself: What’s unique about my skillset? If my audience had contact sheets of photos of all the applicants for this job, what do I want them to remember about me? Ask, “Why should they care?”
 
An elevator speech needs a hook, a middle, and an ending--something memorable--to comprise your fully-formed mini-cover letter...the same goes for a mini-cover letter or blurb about why someone should consider your application. Hopefully, this article and the example of the journalist will help you--but if you’re still having trouble visualizing what 75 words look like on the page, scroll up and glance over this article once more. Each paragraph is exactly 75 words long. 
 
 
How to Maximize Your Network: Relationships and Referrals Print E-mail
Looking for a new job--whether to change careers or give your current career a boost--is, as they say, more about who you know than what you know. While networking has gone “social,” the basic rule stays the same: Networking is all about relationships.

In the digital age, how do you maintain relationships? Chances are, you have contacts that you don’t see everyday. You’ve worked or studied with them in the past. Simply reading the occasional email from LinkedIn informing you that one of your contacts has been promoted or is celebrating a work anniversary does not mean you have a relationship with that individual.

Find Common Ground

Did you ever have one of those nights with a friend or significant other when you stay up until dawn just talking about all the common interests, opinions, and experiences you’ve had? Maybe you both sported a side-ponytail in the eighties or perhaps you still own the original Nintendo.

Regardless of shared experience or knowledge itself, this connection serves as a foundation for a relationship. You don’t need to be best friends with everyone in your network, but if there’s someone you might want to ask for a referral, take the time to find that common ground.

Stay in Touch

Nothing says “I care about you as a fellow human being” like ignoring someone for three and a half years and then asking for a referral...right?

Staying in touch with connections in your network not only allows you to maintain your relationships, but it can lead to new ones. Say you and John Smith graduated from the same university years back. Maybe you ran into him on your last trip abroad. A couple weeks after you returned home, you sent him an email. You asked about his trip to New Zealand and swapped Instagrams so that he could look at your pictures of the Australian Outback. You’ve found some common ground.

Unless you touch base with John every now and then, he’s likely to forget how it felt to have a shared experience with you. So how do you ensure that you’re regularly touching base with your network connections?

You can use a calendar, a spreadsheet, a to-do list, or even an index card filing system. The key is to avoid using a predictable schedule. No one wants to feel as though they’re only being contacted on the tenth of each month. Mix it up.

What about frequency? Start off touching base with contacts once every three months or so. This way, you’re not pestering your whole network, but you’re staying fresh in your contacts’ minds.

Networking is a Two-Way Street

Relationships require a constant balance of giving and receiving. If all of your attempts to reach out to a contact are to ask for favors or information, she may begin to feel as though you’re taking advantage of that common ground you worked so hard to develop. When you reach out to someone, try sending her an interesting article in a field related to her career. Begin a dialogue on the topic of that article.

Ask how things are going at a contact’s new job, or express interest in traveling to a destination he visited. Not every conversation needs to be centered around work--and it shouldn’t be.

The Big Ask

Even when you’ve nurtured relationships within your network, asking for a referral can be a stressful process. You don’t want to demand too much, but you’re certain that a good word from the right person might just get you an interview with a potential client or employer.

Follow these guidelines to write a successful request:

  • Draft your request for a referral ahead of time.
  • Be concise and grateful.
  • Explain to your contact why you’re reaching out to her or him, and how you would benefit the company or client with whom you want to work.
  • Avoid offering to provide a referral in exchange at this time--though it’s often tempting to acknowledge that two-way street, you don’t want to come off as suggesting that your contact would only bother to refer you quid pro quo.
  • Put your draft down. Go for a walk. Ignore it overnight.
  • The next day, or several days later, re-read and revise your draft.
  • Send your request when the sun is up. You never know what email settings someone has on her phone, and you don’t want to wake someone up with your request.
If you’re ever given an opportunity to refer a contact, do so eagerly if you feel comfortable recommending him. He will remember when you helped out, and will be all the more willing to return the favor down the line. 
 
4 Unexpected Ways Valentine’s Day and the Job Search Relate to Each Other Print E-mail
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! Job seekers don’t often associate Valentine’s Day with the job search, but there are many ways in which the two are very similar. While many people are spending an incredible amount of effort to show their partners how much they truly care about them, the same steps can be applied to the job search. Without further ado, here’s 4 ways to apply your Valentine’s Day efforts to the job search.

Research

On Valentine’s Day, you want to make the one you love feel special. So you begin researching romantic restaurants and activities. What type of food does your partner enjoy? What should you get him/her for the occasion? Should you go out or cook him/her a meal? These are questions meant to show your partner how much you really love him/her on Valentine’s Day, but doing your research also is important in the job search.

Before going on an interview, it’s vital you learn everything you can about your potential employer. Reviewing the company’s past achievements and projects not only shows you are passionate about the role, but it also shows just how much you care about the company. Do as much research as you can.

It’s All About the Details

Maybe you decide to stay in on Valentine’s Day. You cook your partner his/her favorite meal, light some candles, open a bottle of wine and turn on some music. Every detail about your evening is perfect because you have taken the time to plan it. Focusing on the details is just as important in the job search – especially as it pertains to your resume.

The resume is your first impression. Are you sure your resume is effectively showcasing your skills? Only focus on the details that will draw the attention of hiring managers when they review your resume. While having a detailed resume is important, having too much detail can have a negative effect on your job search. These 6 resume details will help you get your foot in the door!

Dress to Impress

Valentine’s Day is a special occasion, so chances are you won’t be dressed in your favorite pajamas or weekend sweats to spend time with your significant other. It’s a celebration of romance and love for both new and deep-rooted relationships, so in either situation you don’t want to look like a slob. Dressing up your outfit will make the night feel that much more special.

Your appearance is your first visual introduction to the prospective employer. As important as it is to have your resume perfected, you also need to represent yourself in a professional manner. The company is looking to hire a professional, not someone who looks unkempt. You don’t have to wear a ball gown or tuxedo, but proper business attire is appropriate.

Flatter Them (But Not Too Much)

Valentine’s Day is all about making your significant other feel loved and appreciated, so of course flattery goes along with that! Try to remember to complement the way they look, or even just reiterate how much they mean to you. Life can be crazy sometimes and we may take our relationships for granted, so it’s important to make sure they understand how you feel about them. Even though we shouldn’t need a holiday to remember this, it is a nice reminder to really go above and beyond in regards to showing your partner how much they mean to you.

We already spoke about the research factor when it comes to going on an interview, and in doing your research you can really get a feel for some of the potential perks of working with that employer. You should always be prepared with questions, and if there is something you love about the company, that’s a great piece of information to throw in as well. You don’t want to praise them so much that you come off as sounding rehearsed, but one or two casual points could really impress the interviewer.

 
Our Favorite Job Search Strategies to Use in 2015 Print E-mail
Now that 2015 has arrived, we’ve reviewed the many job search articles we’ve published over the past year to present job seekers with a summary of our favorite strategies. From networking tactics to job search stress relievers, below is a round-up of some of our favorite tips. Make sure to use these in 2015!  
 
New Year, New Resume
 
The beginning of the year is a time for reflection. Not getting the job interview you desire? Chances are, it’s your resume. Job seekers often make the mistake of not updating their resumes to constantly present themselves in the best way possible. As a result, their resumes end up in the trash cans of hiring managers. A fresh resume in the New Year can be just what you need to succeed in the job search. 
 
Embrace the start of a new year by taking the time to review your resume…and if you need a little help, you can always receive a Free Resume Evaluation from our team of professional writers.
 
 
Make Your Resume Stand Out
 
It’s the beginning of the year, which means competition in the job search is fierce. Hiring managers will be sifting through a plethora of resumes – with many of those resumes not doing enough to make the cut. In fact, a hiring manager spends an average of six seconds reviewing a resume. Are you confident that your resume has what it takes to stand out?
 
Check out the article below to make sure your resume doesn’t wind up at the bottom of the pile in the New Year. 
 
 
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for the Job Search
 
LinkedIn can be a powerful way to leverage your job search. Some of the world’s best companies have company pages on LinkedIn and they update these pages with job openings every day. In addition, tons of hiring managers and recruiters use LinkedIn daily to discover potential candidates – are you one of them? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to network with these people of influence. 
 
The first step to using LinkedIn effectively is to optimize your profile. This will increase your visibility, which will lead to more views from headhunters, recruiters and hiring managers. Follow the LinkedIn tips at the link below and you’ll be on your way to a successful job search!
 
 
Use LinkedIn to Network Effectively
 
The importance of using LinkedIn in the job search should not be ignored! Job seekers are using the platform to find their next careers. We mentioned that the first step to getting the job you want via LinkedIn is to optimize your profile. The next step is to use LinkedIn as a targeted networking tool to connect with hiring managers and recruiters. LinkedIn’s search capability is advanced and can help you narrow down which recruiters are in your industry. Take advantage of this. 
 
Once you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile with industry keywords and experience, make sure you read the article below to get started with networking.
 

Relieve Job Search Stress
 
The hardships of the job search can really take a toll on one’s stress levels, but you should always keep a positive attitude. Having a healthy, stress-free mindset is very important in the job search. With that being said, it’s vital that you relieve as much stress as you can. There are many stress relievers, but we’ve outlined our favorites in the article below. Give them a shot in the New Year!
 
 
BONUS: Quotes that Will Motivate Your Job Search
 
We love motivational quotes, especially when they relate to the job search! If you need a little push, here’s three of our favorites! 
 
 
3 Sure-Fire Ways to Take Advantage of the Holiday Job Search Print E-mail
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Watch the snow fall, make some hot cocoa and cozy up by the fireplace. While no one would blame you for relaxing with loved ones over the holidays, it’s important not to let the job search slip away.
 
Many job seekers are letting the job search fade away during the holidays, but you should use this to your advantage since there is less competition. To get the best out of the job search over the holidays, follow these strategies:
 
Start Networking!
 
Networking is very beneficial to the job search, especially during the holidays. Make an effort to attend as many holiday events and social gatherings as possible. At each event, you should engage fellow networkers in professional conversation. Use this time to discuss what you’re looking to do with your career path and try to be of value. However, be cautious about how much talking you’re doing. The most important component of networking is being able to listen effectively. 
 
Networking is one of the most powerful ways to move your resume from the bottom of the pile to the top of the pile. Get out there and start building new relationships!
 
Get a Resume Makeover!
 
When was the last time you had a professional review your resume? A fresh resume is often what job seekers need to get their foot in the door. Don’t wait until the New Year to make the decision to revise your resume – as many other job applicants are doing. Get an early jump on the competition by taking advantage of our Free Resume Evaluation. Our team of professional resume writers will review your resume and provide you with expert feedback on how to make your resume stand out. 
 
Don’t hesitate – receive a Free Resume Evaluation today!
 
Join LinkedIn and Become Active!
 
Did you know that there are currently 330 million+ professionals on LinkedIn? It’s by far the greatest social network for job seekers and if you’re not already using it, now’s the time to sign-up (it’s free)! Getting through a potential employer’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is not always an easy task – especially if your resume isn’t as well-structured as it should be. One effective way to beat the ATS is to contact your hiring manager directly on LinkedIn. 
 
It’s important to note that you should only contact a hiring manager if you think you’d be a great fit for the job. Send a brief message about who you are and why you think you’d be a good fit for the job, but make sure to keep it short. Also, don’t make a habit of contacting or connecting with too many hiring managers as it will become evident that you’re desperately looking for a job. Be genuine, be authentic and most importantly, be reasonable.
 
Take advantage of the holidays and get your job search on track before the New Year!
 
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