Tagged: networking

How To Write A Strong Elevator Speech

How to Nail Your Elevator  Pitch

By Lauren Katen at The Muse

You ride the subway, grab a coffee, and get to the office. It’s your typical Monday morning—until, bam! You step in the elevator and find yourself face-to-face with the CEO of your dream company or the client you’ve been dying to land.

She smiles and says, “Hi. What do you do?”

Scary? Absolutely. But it could happen to you—tomorrow—and you’ll want to be prepared.

The aptly named “elevator speech” or “elevator pitch” is a concise, compelling introduction that can be communicated in the amount of time it takes someone to ride the elevator to her floor.

Even if you’re never caught heading up to the 39th with someone important, this is a good skill to master when you’re introducing yourself during an interview, a sales pitch, or a networking event. People are busy, and being able to communicate who you are and what you do quickly and effectively will ensure that you get your most important points across, no matter how short the conversation.

Not quite ready for the elevator ride of your life? Check out our step-by-step guide to crafting—and perfecting—your pitch.

1. Start With a Blank Canvas

Take a blank piece of paper and number it from one to 10. Then, fill in the most important bits of information that you want to convey about yourself, your service or product, or your company.

What, exactly, do you do? What have you achieved, and what are your goals? Who does your company serve and why? Focus on the most interesting or memorable facts—the ones that really make you stand  out from others.

2. Red Pen It

Using a different color pen, edit what you’ve drafted with a critical eye. Eliminate any redundancies, unnecessary or unclear information, and broad business jargon.

More importantly, hone and enhance the good stuff. “I’m great at sales” isn’t likely to pique anyone’s interest, but “I’ve exceeded my sales goals every quarter for the last two years” sure might.

3. Pick a Card

Grab five index cards, and label them “Who I Am,” “What I Do,” “How I Do It,” “Why I Do It,” and “Who I Do It For.” Add each item on the list you’ve created to the card where it fits best.

Ideally, you’ll have two compelling sentences underneath each heading, so fill in any gaps if you need to.

4. Get in Order

Organize the cards in a logical order, making sure the most important information is first.

Remember, you often only have a few seconds to communicate with someone. If you get cut off, what would you want her to walk away remembering?

5. Add an Attention-Getter

Add an interesting fact or stat to use at the beginning of your speech. Your goal is to immediately engage someone so that he or she is intrigued and wants to learn more.

6. Practice!

Recite your pitch to someone close who can be objective, and ask for constructive feedback (although we love our friends and families, sometimes they think we can do no wrong!).

What may seem clear in your mind might come across as convoluted, long-winded, or fragmented to an outside observer.

7. Record Your Pitchiphone smartphone apps apple inc mobile phone cell phone phone communication mobile telephone technology cellular call screen wireless business modern digital message connection communicate electronic display contact hand touch conversation portable computer touchscreen applications ios holding typing browsing iphone iphone iphone mobile phone mobile phone cell phone phone phone phone phone phone mobile mobile

Once you’ve gotten feedback and honed your pitch even further, record yourself saying it. Listen to your tone—make sure it’s friendly, non-threatening, and that you’re not talking a mile a minute (knowing you only have a few moments to speak may subconsciously increase your pace).

Really listen to what you’re saying—make sure you’re not repeating words and that you’re sending the message you really want to convey.

8. Ride the Elevator

The next time you ride an elevator (alone), practice your speech.

First, give yourself some time by going to the highest floor. Then, try giving your pitch from a middle floor and from the first to the third floor, too. Having to make just a few brief moments count will help you to hone the words you need and scrap the ones you don’t!

This week, set aside some time to craft your elevator pitch (or dust off the one you’ve used before). You just never know who you might face tomorrow morning.

Let me help you with your short pitch so you’ll be ready the next time someone asks.The elevator speech is the door to long and powerful relationships. 610-212-6679 or stephanie@accessguidance.com

Where Hiring Managers Look For Candidates

Alan Carniol   Hidden Job Market


When hiring managers have an opening to fill they use these sources to find the right candidate.

  1. First Choice They hire someone they’ve already worked with, a subordinate or a colleague, or someone they worked with at a different company.

If they don’t find someone …

  1. Second Choice Reach out to someone who comes recommended by a friend or a trusted colleague/advisor they trust implicitly.

Then if they don’t find someone, they….

  1. Third Choice Hit up referrals given from a weaker connection-like a subordinate, or a friend, or someone in their network-where they can see some evidence of their past performance (like LinkedIn)

Then, if they don’t find someone…

  1. Fourth Choice   Maybe if they are lucky, a stranger will show up at the right time and the right place )e.g., a networking event, or reach out to them cold) and will quickly inspire trust and create a relationship.

Finally, if none of the other four avenues yield a solid candidate:

  1. Fifth Choice They’ll have HR post the job on websites and run ads in newspapers.  HR takes over from this point and screens all the candidates for interview.


This is how it works behind closed doors.

Choices 1-4 are the “hidden” jobs market.  Only the fifth option is in the public jobs forum.

Thanks, Alan.  Now that you know how HR finds candidates, you can see that networking is the best way to be in the right place at the moment a job opens up.  Lets formulate your networking plan so that you are top-of-mind when HR starts thinking about who to hire. stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679




5 Career Lessons I Wish I’d Had When I Was 22.

Here’s an article from LinkedIn that every undergraduate student and every recent college grad should read.

Sara Sutton Fell     May 5, 2014

I live in a college town, and besides just busy restaurants and more traffic, this time of year is chock-full of college graduations, commencement speeches, and lessons for young professionals just embarking on their careers. I thought back to when I was that age and what advice I wish I had been given — and listened to — that would’ve saved me a lot of stress-related headaches and self-doubt. As part of LinkedIn’s #IfIWere22 series, here are five lessons for my 22-year-old self. (Hopefully they’ll help someone else starting their career and interested in saving themselves some career-related agony!)

Common sense is more important than an MBA.

While an MBA can be useful, it is not a requirement to be successful in business. However, I believe that common sense is. I started my first business when I was 21, with a childhood friend who was also 21– and honestly, we both looked like we were about 16. We had no business experience whatsoever and obviously no MBAs, but we were incredibly driven and passionate about our idea. In an effort to learn from others’ experiences, we actively built a group of advisers who were older, had MBAs, and who were impressively experienced. But our company was an internet company in the dawn of the new economy, and while the advice was well-meaning and came across with confidence and levity, it simply wasn’t as applicable, and they didn’t understand the audience and product nearly as well as we did. Because we were young and lacking professional depth, we didn’t give these two factors enough credit, and too often we were swayed from our instincts by people who we thought were smarter just because of their MBAs. Bottom line, always be open to learn from people who might have more knowledge or experience than you, but don’t sacrifice your common sense for it.

Each and every job will teach you something about what you want to do (or not to).

No matter how bleak or pointless a job might seem, there is actually always a valuable takeaway… it just might not be what you expect. The boss you hate? Well, you might realize that you never want to be a manager like that. The soul-sucking job hawking a crappy product? It might be horrible, but you might learn some amazing marketing tactics that you will use down the line to get national awareness for a product you do believe. Regardless of your job and whether you love it or hate it (or vacillate in between), look for opportunities to learn about what you like and don’t like. These lessons will help you design your career in a way that makes you happy and proud.

Your career path is almost certainly going to be more of a meandering river than a straight path.

You will move backwards, forwards, sideways. There will be jobs that on the outside promise to be a ticket to the top, but instead that end up leaving you laid off when you are seven months pregnant, wondering how the heck you got there (as I did). You might take a job that seems like a step (or more) backwards in your career, but because you are such a high-performer you are offered an unexpectedly awesome skyrocket to the top within a few years (as I was). You might find that you want to switch careers entirely. So try to remember to ride each unexpected twist and turn, take it all for what it’s worth, and try not to stress too much that your career path isn’t as straight as you expected it to be.

Networking just to network can be more distracting than helpful.

We’ve all heard it’s about “who you know”, blah, blah, blah. And I get that, BUT. Be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that quantity is more important than quality. While I admit it’s cool to see the “500+ connections” indicator on someone’s LinkedIn profile, if all of those 500 are strangers or low-grade acquaintances, you’ll be missing the real opportunities that networking really provides. So be sure to seek out substantive professional relationships (mentors, trusted colleagues, people in your company you admire, friends and family, or just people you respect). Keep regular communication with them, and engage them in real conversations. It’s not to say that general casual networking can’t be helpful–it can!–but don’t let it be your only goal. Because those deeper, “real” connections are like investments that will yield better and better results over time, on both a professional and a trusted personal level.

Place high value on company culture.

There are a lot of bells and whistles that companies may advertise as why you want to work there, but no matter what industry you’re in, the culture where you work is vitally important. Is there a ton of turnover? Do colleagues often have advancement opportunities? Do people enjoy working there? What the company values and identifies as important to them will impact you every single day. , also don’t rely on it exclusively. Supplement the information they’ve provided by researching people who work for the company (ideally in a related department) on LinkedIn, see if you have any connections, and ask them for an informational interview. Or use sites like Glassdoor to read reviews of companies from the employees themselves. And in job interviews, always ask specific questions about the culture. Always. You are going to invest a huge amount of your time and energy into this place. Make sure it’s a worthwhile investment.


Sara Sutton Fell is an expert in the online employment market and is currently the Founder and CEO of FlexJobs, an award-winning career website for telecommuting and flexible job listings. Sara is the Founder of 1 Million for Work Flexibility, an initiative to help positive change towards flexible options in the workplace.


Effective Prep For Career or Job Change

According ot Dan Schwabel, between ages 18 and 50, the average person will hold 12 jobs and almost half of them may be before age 25.  If you are contemplated a change in  employment, read these 7 tips to speed you on your way.

  1. Before you leap into a new career or move your current one to a new company, spend some time thinking about what you want in the new position.  How do you want to spend your day?  What problems do you want to solve?  What challenges you? Which skills do you want to use? Who do you want to work with-what kind of people help you perform optimally?  Where to you thrive, what environment and elements of company culture nurture your gifts?  Answer these questions to help you make the best career-promoting decisions.
  2. Create a career plan, frame the trajectory of you working life using the information generated by step one.   You need to have a goal in order to select the path most likely to move you toward it.  Not knowing where you are going is the biggest mistake you can make.  The goal may be revised many times as doors close and windows open through no action of yours.  Think of the job categories that no longer exist and those that have sprung up in the last  years.  To be able to evaluate new options you must have some standards to compare them to.
  3. Expand your knowledge of what is out there, where the opportunities are.  Don’t limit yourself to the kinds of jobs you’ve held or the fields of endeavor  you already know.  Great ways to learn about new kinds of work are through networking and getting to know lots of new people.  Join something; connect with professional groups; use LinkedIn to expand your horizons.  Ask for informational interviews; ask to shadow someone whose job seems interesting.  Read newspapers and magazines; read professional journals in fields that interest you.  Attend professional organization meetings, conferences, presentations.  Volunteer.  Think outside the box you are in!
  4. Before you settle on a new direction, research the job market and salary.  Be certain that there are openings to be filled.  If you don’t have all of the sills required, consider the time and expense or re-tooling and prepare to show how your current experiences have positioned you to slip seamlessly into the new role.
  5. Financial planning for the transition is necessary.  You may need to support yourself without income for a short while.  Training may be necessary and not all companies pay full salary during this period.  Have some extra funds so that you aren’t forced to take the highest paying (but not necessarily the most rewarding) job or the first one offered.  Sometimes you will need to accept a lower starting salary or fewer benefits until you’ve proven your value.
  6. Don’t assume that in order to get the job you want you will need another degree or job specific skills.  Many companies prefer to train new hires themselves.  Others will pay for employees to go back to school.  Where it appears that only MBAs will be interviewed, look for other positions that do the same work but without the degree requirement from the start.  Most professionals know that a degree gives good backgrounding and exposure, but the real learning is done on the job.
  7. Some DONTs and DOs.  Don’t wait before you have a new job.  Don’t neglect networking.  Don’t skip the research into  yourself and potential careers.  Don’t give up too quickly.  Do begin to consider a move when you aren’t growing in your present role or when you can see that the fit isn’t a good one. Do draw on strengths developed in previous positions. Do find a mentor or support team. Do adjust your resume to reflect the new position or career field.

I’m available to help with your career journey.  Lets get together soon! stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.


From The Muse: 53 Ways To Get A Job By Graduation

The job search plan you create should cover these bases:

Under Pressure

1. Create and refine your job search plan

2. Strategize your networking

3. Keep adding the most-needed skills in your field

4. Expand your job search criteria

5. Polish your professional online presence


I’m not going to recount all 53 things you should do if you are a college student looking for your first post-graduation job but you can read them all in the following post.


Spring is Job Fair Season 7 To-Do’s

Job fairs can be very helpful to someone on the hunt for a position, either full time or as an intern.   Even if you aren’t quite ready to take the leap, prep as though you are and check out the companies who might be interested in you.


1.Take the opportunity seriously.  Bring a positive attitude along with your resume.  Don ‘t bring a friend.

2. Start by finding out which companies will have reps at the fair.  Investigate their websites, read their blogs. research their products or services, reputation, place within the industry.  Discover their mission, budget, price on the stock market and organizational structure.  Its a lot of information to uncover.

3. Prepare your resume and have someone else proof for errors and content.

4. Dress for success.  Choose shoes that are comfortable, polished, scuff-free, and match the formality of your outfit.  No athletic shoes, please!

5.Practice your introduction and your elevator pitch.  Have a firm handshake not a death grip.

6. Be strategic.  Choose a few booths you want to visit.  Start with a couple from your B list for practice before you head to your main targets.  Be on the look out for companies that no one is checking out: they could be a hidden gem that no one has heard of yet.

7. Gather information by picking up business cards and company literature.  Leave the gadgets on the table.  The more you learn the more you’ll earn.

Job fairs are networking opportunities as well as meet-and-greets.  Often the people behind the table are the very ones who make hiring decisions.  Making a good impression can set up an opportunity for an interview for a different role later.

Most of the companies who recruit at job fairs also have internships.  Getting on the radar early could help you land a paid student position.

Be sure to send thank you notes to everyone you’ve talked to: its polite and will jog their memory of your conversation.   Best of luck!

Put your best foot forward by prepping for the job fair.  I have an hour-do you?stepahnie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.

Advice From A College Professor: What She Wishes She’d Known in College

Frequently, in posts about succeeding in college, I offer tips on who you need to know and why.  Check out this article from the New York Times written by Susan Shapiro, a new professor at Columbia University.  It feels very good to be validated by authorities with real world experience!

I have many more tips for college bound students.  Give me a call! 610-212-6679 or stephanie@accessguidance.com



Make A Good First Impression Before You Send Your Resume

Read the tips by Tatiana Rehmova published in Confidence so that you are on top of your brand before you contact potential employers.



Make a good first impression on employer before sending your resume     Tatiana Rehmova | Jun 20, 2017 | Confidence |

‘’You never get a second chance to make a first impression.’’ (Andrew Grant)

When we start the job-hunting process the very first step we take is crafting a resume for that dream position. There’s nothing wrong with that. Well, almost nothing. From an employer’s point of view, it’s a good idea to start building a relationship with the company before sending your resume to them.

The question is: How can you make a first impression on your potential employer before sending your resume? There are at least 5 ways you can do it.

1. Send a note by post

All the essentials for taking this step are available online. They are the company’s address and the name of a person you’d like to send a note to. Then, decide what type of note it should be. A handwritten letter that explains who you are and why you think you’d be perfect for the company, for example. In the note, also write a solution to a problem the company’s facing. You can find an inspiration from Nina who wanted to work for airbnb and created something truly special.

Another option is to do a deeper research and find what the person from a department you’d like to work in likes. Check their social media accounts (Facebook/Instagram) and try to think what would make them smile? On one of the recruitment meetings I attended, one of the employers mentioned a girl who sent her favorite chocolate bar together with a resume. You guess right, she got hired! Even though the whole situation might seem a bit creepy to you.

Sending a little something or a handwritten note is just more creative. At the end of the day, who sends anything by post anymore? If you do it, you’ll surely make an impression. It’s up to your message whether it will be a positive one.

2. Build a virtual relationship on Twitter

No, a simple ‘’Follow’’ or a single tweet will not do the trick. What you need to do is interact with the company. Get organized and create your action plan.

First, do the research. What kind of information do they share? Are these the topics you’re interested in too? If the answer’s no, read about those topics and get familiar with them. Secondly, dedicate time to be active on Twitter. Like their tweets, re-tweet them and comment on them. You can also tweet directly to them, ask questions or recommend an article they would be interested in. Finally, remember that persistency is a key. Wait until some interaction between you and the company forms. Keep in mind that it could take more than a week for that to happen.

Once the relationship exists, you’re ready to send them an inmail explaining who you are and why you’d like to work for them.

3. Give them a call

I know. Calling to your dream employer directly can be a little scary. Especially if it is one of your very first positions. Don’t worry, tough. All you need is a good preparation. Write everything you’d like to tell them down on a piece of paper. The message, once again, should be you ‘’selling’’ yourself and explaining why you are the right person for the company. What problem can you solve for them?

After you’ve written down your key messages, practice. Ask your friend to pretend to be the employer and have a virtual call with them. Trust me, this way you’ll boost your confidence.

Many employers out there prefer receiving a call, rather than having to read through your email. It’s more efficient and less time-consuming.

4. Comment on their blog

Another thing you could try is finding out whether the person from a department you’d like to work in has a blog. You can usually find a link to their blog on their Linkedin or Twitter profile. You could even try to Google their name and see what type of information pops up. If they have an active blog, it will appear for sure.

Then read their articles and comment on them. Share your point of view or ask them an additional question. It should be more than just ‘’Great article!’’.

If you like writing and have your own blog, you could even write an article sharing your opinion or a point of view on the same topic. Than send it to them explaining that you got inspired by their work. It’s very flattering to writers.

5. Meet them in person

Have you heard the story about a guy who pretended to be a postman delivering doughnuts to his potential employers? In the box there weren’t just doughnuts, but also his resume! Now that is one creative way to make a good first impression!

While you could try the same, another good idea would be crafting an amazing resume specific to the company, filled with your top skills, experience and a good evidence for each point. Show up with a smile on your face and a good explanation why you’d like to work for them up your sleeve.

Over to you!

Making a good first impression on an employer before sending a resume might seem a bit unnatural at first. But once you give it a go, you’ll see it’s easier than you think. I hope you’ll give one of these options a go next time you look for your dream job. Let me know how it went in the comments below. Good luck!

So there you have it.  You have one moment in which to make a good first impression so lay the ground work now while you can still manage the image you create.  To learn more, give me a call, 610-212-6679 or send an email to stephanie@accessguidance.com




Your Handshake Is Your First Impression: Do It Right!

When we meet someone in a business or formal setting, we extend our right hand to shake.   It is believed that this gesture originated as a way for men to show  each other that they were unarmed and did not intend harm.  Handshakes are a social formality we observe as a greeting and sign of goodwill.

Lets set up the handshake.

Always shake with your right hand.  Be the one to initiate the gesture..  A fist bump is not a handshake.

If you know the name of the person, use it.  “Hi Bob” or “Nice to meet you Mr. Peters”.  If you are meeting some one at a networking event, introduce yourself with extended right hand. “Hi, I’m Ginny Johnson, from Johnson Wax”, or “I’m Cindy Lauper.  I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name”.

Make eye contact.  (Don’t stare at their name tag trying to pronounce their name or commit it to memory!) Smile.  Always stand up for a handshake if you are sitting: standing shows respect and interest.  Dry your hand before shaking if you tend to have sweaty palms.

Grip firmly without squeezing hard.  The “Death by Handshake” grip is aggressive and inappropriate.  Shake by pumping up and down 2-3 times.  Release the hand.

If the setting is a business meeting or interview, at the end repeat the handshake with a sincere thank you.

Now that you know how to shake hands properly, go forth and greet the world!

Business etiquette can be mysterious.  Lets talk about what’s effective and proper in various situations.  Stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679



When and How to Make Your Own Opportunities

Build Your Future

This post is for college students seeking an internship, anyone looking for a job, including experienced workers and those out of work.

When no jobs in your field present themselves and no one appears to be looking for new talent, would-be new hires can give up or they can create a job opening for themselves.

Self- creating jobs isn’t for sissies; if you’re not willing to commit, read no further.  Readers who are seriously on the hunt will benefit from these suggestions.

Work your network.  You want to get into pharmaceutical sales?  Look for sales managers, HR personnel, executives at pharma companies and get in touch.  They may not have an opening now but expressing interest (and keeping in touch) puts you at the head of the queue when an opening occurs.  Its possible that there is an unadvertised opening or one coming up soon and you will be top-of-mind. Use LinkedIn and your other resources to locate your targets.

Cast a wide net to capture the most possibilities.  A past client had moved from one city to another and needed a job.  She canvassed local universities looking for a research position without much luck.   One university recognized her value and established a position for her to compile data, write and publish previous and new studies.  She now has several publications on her resume as well as 2 years of experience to propel her to her next opportunity.

It goes without saying that knowing what is going on in the industry creates an opening to show how you are perfect for the company. If you detect a shift in your chosen field, be certain that you acquire the background needed to meet the new challenges before they become imminent.  Use your downtime between jobs or projects to broaden your knowledge base.

When you think your connection might be interested in you sometime in the future you can ask to be an intern now to get experience.  College grads, I can hear you moan but hear me out.  You can be unemployed and watching reality tv or you can be unemployed and gaining experience.  An internship can make you poachable.

For readers who have extensive experience, an internship is a chance to try out a new role or company.  You can show the many ways your accomplishments can become benefits for a new employer or new division of your current company.

Don’t sit back and wait for your employment prospects to improve.  When you knock on doors you are seen as confident, mature, skilled and as someone who attacks problems (in this case, unemployment).   All good things.   Asking for a job and showing how you can solve a problem, maybe one they didn’t recognize they have, make you the go-to person when funds to hire are available or someone leaves the company.

Show the world you’re already a star and that some lucky company will get to hire you!

Lets talk about how to approach connections and what your pitch should sound like.  Practice will give you confidence! stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679