My resume is updated and the job search has begun. In the last three months of my job search, networking has been the best method of job hunting.
At first, I looked for jobs online. My experience and training best qualifies me to work with children or in higher education administration, so I began my search by looking at job postings at local school districts and area colleges and universities. This method did yield a couple of applications and interviews, but most of the time, I felt like I was sending my resume into black hole after black hole.
One conversation at a dinner party changed my approach.
The Elevator Pitch
On a sultry September evening, Andy and I were enjoying hors d’oeuvres at one of his colleague’s homes. She is a lovely woman: gracious, hospitable, brilliant, yet humble. Her house reminded me of the home of a couple of college professors that lived in my neighborhood growing up: full of interesting travel souvenirs, walls of books and quirky yet attractive furniture. I usually feel out-of-place at these sort of gatherings, since I am usually the only one without an advanced degree or full-time employment. But tonight was different. Conversation flowed easily, and my plate was full of delicious food.
Then our hostess turned to me and asked, “Ginny, what do you do?” I explained that I spent the last eleven years as a stay-at-home mom, but that now I was looking for employment again.
Her face lit up, “What kind of employment are you looking for?”
I froze. My mind went blank. Her question caught me off-guard, and I did not have a good answer. I think I answered her eventually by saying that I wasn’t sure what kind of work I wanted. Then I quickly switched topics to talk about her dog.
On the way home, Andy gently rebuked me for not having a prepared answer to her question.
“You need to have an elevator pitch,” he said. “You know, like a sales pitch. A one minute answer about the kind of job you’re looking for and your qualifications.” He was right.
Since that night, I have written my one minute elevator pitch. It sounds very similar to the “objective” section of my resume, and now I am ready to deliver it when someone asks me about my job search.
I have also sent my resume to one of our pastors, a friend-of-a-friend, and an elder in our church. Though nothing has yielded a job yet, my efforts have yielded several leads that I continue to pursue. These contacts also provide clear means of follow-up.
How can you begin to tap your network today? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Write your elevator pitch, and practice delivering it in conversation to people like:
- other parents at your children’s school
- people that you meet at the gym
- social media
- people at your children’s school
- people from church or your place of worship
- people that you meet at your children’s soccer games, dance classes, etc