The Elevator Encounter That Got Me the Job

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Campus career centers always talk about practicing your ‘elevator speech,’ a thirty second or so bio about your experience, expertise and personality. Students may not realize, however, that being on the lookout for good opportunities is always a necessity even though always actively looking for a job may not be the goal on mind.

Tricia Giacone, a senior consultant at Gartner, Inc., literally used her elevator speech to make a professional connection in an elevator. It all started when Giacone was on a business trip in New York City and was taking the elevator up to her hotel room. “There was one other person in the elevator with me,” she says, “who happened to notice my company logo on my bag and casually mentioned that he used to work there as well…Through casual conversation and coincidence, I realized that he worked for a company that I had always been interested in.” Although she was not looking for a position at the time, Giacone and the man swapped business cards.

Giacone understood the importance of maintaining contact, so she emailed the man a “nice to meet you and let’s keep in touch” message. She says, “[a] few weeks later, he mentioned that his company was hiring and asked if I was interested in submitting my resume, which I did and then followed the standard interview process to eventually receive an offer.”

Because she was on the lookout for both extending her network and looking for good opportunities, Giacone currently has a job where, as she says, “[t]here are things about this job that I love and I didn’t even know or know to look for because they were missing from my old job.”

“That, in essence,” she says, “is why you should always be open to new opportunities—there could be something great on the horizon that you weren’t even aware of or searching for.”

To stay on the lookout for good opportunities, students must:

  • “always be open to new job opportunities,” whether casually looking or not.
  • engage with the resources that they have available to them such as career fairs, online job postings, listserve emails and personal connections.
  • have an elevator speech prepared in the event that you need to use one in the spur of the moment. (Make sure to include your name, standing in school, field of study, advantageous personality traits and even some previous experience.)
  • stay in contact with all of the members of your network to let them know what you have been up to academically, professionally and personally.

Sophomore > Marketing and Finance > University of Maryland

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