Job Search: Will it be your Employment Story or a Missed Opportunity?

by | Job Search

Many successful employment stories begin with a friendly conversation in the grocery store line, during a commute, in a public place, and at a time when you least expect it during a job search. Turn these conversations turn into job-landing opportunities! Always be friendly, positive, and ready to connect with professional contacts who can help you get HIRED!

Job Search Conversation Etiquette

No one enjoys being cornered or monopolized when out with friends, on a date, or spending time with their family… so be aware of the surrounding circumstances when interacting with the contact.

Be mindful of their time and space while providing them concise and supportive information. Ask if you can continue your conversation on a phone call or in an appointment in the next few days. The contact will not only feel respected and appreciate your consideration, but they will also be more likely to follow up with you as a result.

Be prepared with brief talking points. Don’t just ask specific job search questions, like if the contact “knows of anyone who is hiring,” or say “keep me in mind if you hear of any opportunities.”

Be specific and concise when speaking to contacts about what you are looking for and what you bring to the table. If they show interest, tell them briefly about your unique skill set, and expertise. Don’t stalk them after the conversation. Instead, offer value each time you speak to your contact.

For best results, have business cards printed with your name, contact information, and LinkedIn address. It’s inexpensive! When exchanging business cards, write key information you learned during your conversation on the contact’s card, including the date and place you met so you can easily recall details.

When contacts don’t have business cards with them, ask them to write their contact information on your business card. You can also use a QR code on your business card that they can scan with their phone with a QR Code Reader and it will be stored on their phone. And don’t forget, taking a screen shot or a picture works great… then email it or text it to them!

Prepare professional text messages, just in case!

Prepare a short, professional text message that you can personalize and send if asked for your information electronically. Store it in a note or somewhere that is quickly and easily accessible on your phone. For example:

Hi, I’m Mark Brown and I specialize in financial accounting and contract management. I enjoyed speaking with you today at Fred Meyer. I look forward to connecting with you on Wednesday at 2 p.m. to discuss how you and your organization could benefit from my abilities to save you significant amounts of money and ensure stellar contract management. This is the phone number where I can be reached or you can email me at

When you are in a job search, it’s a great idea to have a copy of your networking or mobile-friendly resume with you. An electronic version is certainly handy and can be quickly emailed to a contact. You can also keep a current, printed version in a folder in your car, or in an item you carry.

For the best impression, always make sure your printed versions look sharp and are free of spills, bends, or creases. This document could speak to many audiences in the hiring process, so make sure it is always ready to impress.


Where do you find contacts for your job search?

Start a friendly conversation at the gas pump, while standing in line at the movies, or at a community event.

Consider joining a business networking group because many people want to do business with people they know as opposed to people they find through an employment agency or job board.

There are a lot of opportunities to find like-minded professionals, such as local or national business networking groups, Master Mind Groups, Women in Business Groups, local Chamber of Commerce meetings, and community groups such as Toastmasters, Rotary Club, and Lion’s Club.

Be creative and committed to finding supportive contacts that could evolve into mutually beneficial professional relationships.

Be prepared to WOW!

Visualize this scenario. You step into an elevator with the influential person you’ve been wanting to connect with at networking events. Now you are face to face with her. You have her undivided attention for the next 20 to 30 seconds of the elevator ride. You have a golden opportunity to make a positive impression and opportunity to invite her to connect with you AFTER you step out of the elevator!

Visualize this scenario. While attending a conference, you find yourself standing in a long coffee line next to the manager of the firm you would love work for. The manager turns to you and says, “So…what do YOU do?”

In either scenario, don’t panic! Instead be prepared to WOW the person. Prepare yourself for these kinds of perfect, casual opportunities.

MAGNETIC TIP: The elevator pitch is an opportunity to quickly make a great impression and invite the person to connect for a longer conversation in the very near future.

Prepare your elevator pitch well in advance because you will have an opportunity to introduce yourself individually in conversation or even possibly to a group. Invariably, the question “What do you do?” will come up. Be prepared to deliver your well-rehearsed and professionally delivered elevator pitch so you can really make a lasting impression.

Additionally, practice your answer to “Tell me about yourself.” When someone asks you to “tell me about yourself,” they are really asking, “what do we have in common? Tell me how you, your qualifications, and experience can help me.” It is just our nature and how we interact as humans.

Learn to quickly and effectively speak about your skills, experience, and qualities you have to offer. Have short and long versions prepared for the many opportunities that may come your way. We recommend three specific versions to prepare a:

  1. 10 to 15-second introduction.
  2. 30-second elevator pitch that includes what you do.
  3. One to two-minute summary of what you do while educating about what you can do for them.

Each version should end with a call to action or an invitation to connect with you in the near future. And make sure to keep track of all of these interactions, so you can follow up later!

Leave us a comment and tell us how you will prepare to avoid a missed opportunity. We want to hear from you!

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Camille Roberts
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