I can't recall who proposed this, but there is a job-seeker technique called "the elevator talk".
Let me paint a scenario:
One day, I am visiting my colleagues on the 34th floor of Manulife Place here in Edmonton. As I leave I see Patrick Laforge, President and CEO of the Edmonton Oilers. He is waiting for the elevator to go down. The door opens and we both step in......
What conversation do I have with Mr. Laforge to get a dream job with the Oilers?
Envisioning this can be useful since, as job seekers, we need to engage the people around us to discover opportunities and clearly, concisely express our value to an organization. It also can help your on-line profile, your resume, and even your interview (more on that later).
Back to the elevator....before Mr. Laforge can grab his blackberry, I say "Patrick Laforge, I'm Jayson Lavergne. You have some very talent people working for you right now, including some fantastic skaters. I have always wanted to ask you how does your organization attract and assess talent? I attract and assess talent for the Federal Government of Canada and I love to hear unique perspectives on the issue".
Now, hopefully, Mr. Lafarge hears me. After he hears me, I hope that he compliments my question & gives me a quick response. If he answers anything like a player, I am sure he will tell me they give 110% and it is a team effort. Once he is done, I would then say, "That's great. Is there anyone I call follow-up with (as I grab my blackberry)."
Now hopefully, he gives me a name in his organization that I can call, follow-up with, or find on linked-in. As the doors open, I wish him god luck bringing the cup back to Edmonton and we go our separate ways.
If he asks more about what I do, I then I tell him that I advise managers to support about 17,000 positions in Alberta by sourcing, recruiting, and assessing talent. My clients include DND, Correctional Services, RCMP, Health Canada and 43 other organizations.
Why is this useful to work through the elevator conversation?
1. You can establish how, when faced with an influential person, you can establish a professional conversation. A casual conversation will typically not create a career opportunity. And yes, everyone is an influential person.
2. You can create a career summary for yourself. This summary can then be used in social media & as an introductory section of your cover letter or resume.
Have fun on your elevator ride! I will be trying "elevator talk" out as I attend a 2-day HR conference in Calgary and meet influential HR professionals. Wish me luck.