Content provided courtesy of USAA
By now, everyone has heard of the importance of having a 30-second "elevator speech" ready to blast upon a potential employer or someone who can introduce you. You know the importance of an attention grabbing statement that solidifies your position as the best choice for the job. Guess what? You need more! You need to be able to carry on a conversation that goes beyond this short time limit — that minute window in time that provides an opportunity to shine.
Here's a list of seven things you can do to keep the conversation going.
1. Do your homework on the company and have a great set of relevant questions ready to ask. Make sure it ties in nicely with the benefits you bring to the potential employer and how you can help them succeed. Ask and listen. Don't play 20 questions here.
2. Ask if it is okay to take the stairs instead of the elevator. You just bought yourself more time to chat, plus you'll probably briefly discuss something obscure such as the importance of fitness. Listen closely for clues that reveal something personal about the prospective employer. Do they run, ride bikes, or climb mountains for fitness? Did they have an early meeting that kept them out of the gym this morning? You might get steps closer to earning a salary while you burn some calories.
3. Find out how many other military-affiliated employees they have. Ask to get a name and number or two so you can contact them to learn more from those who share your past military experiences. This shows interest and the potential employer probably enjoys sharing this information with people who share a military affiliation.
4. Ask for a company tour. This will get you more time around the place you wish to work. After the tour is over, don't rush off too quickly. Find the hiring manager or veteran employees you met and follow up by sharing what you learned and remind them how you can be an asset at their organization. And, if you have to schedule the tour for another day, plan it so that you start before lunch and see if you can enjoy a meal in the company of the company you want to be a part of.
5. Show up with an article about what their competition is doing. If you want to stop a potential employer dead in their tracks, bring up the topic of competition and a specific competitor. Know all the details about that article too and be ready to discuss an example of how you handled a similar situation or how you would love to be on the team that overcomes a competitive threat.
6. Check online for articles related to the person you're meeting with. If you can spark interest in an event, charity, award, or other recognition that's important to your future employer, you will be remembered. But, you have to do this with finesse so it comes across as genuine and not "canned" or like you're kissing up too much.
7. Ask for another meeting with anyone you've met. Things change, companies expand, people move on and leave openings, and the better you keep your finger on the pulse of what's happening, the better your chances of getting hired.