Write An Elevator Story For These Opportunities

Write An Elevator Story

Luck is where preparation and opportunity meet.  You can create your own luck when you write an elevator story for these opportunities:  The elevator meeting, the handshake and the lightning round.

Author Donna Griffit recommends writing an elevator story for multiple situations because you may not always have time to deliver your full elevator story.  Griffit explains how she would pitch business ideas when you often have 30 seconds or less to make a memorable impression.  The same approach is valuable preparation during your job search.

These situational stories are 1.  The Full Elevator Story, 2.  The Handshake Elevator Story and 3.  The Lightning Round Elevator Story.

Write an elevator story with the PEEKSA formula

An elevator story outline will help you create multiple versions that you will remember when opportunity and preparation meet.  Writing your Full Elevator story outline with the PEEKSA formula includes key elements represented in the letters of PEEKSA.

Your Full Elevator Story will include your Passion, Experience, Education, Knowledge and Skills.  The last step is Ask for help.  Your full story should be 30-60 seconds at the most.  Ideally, tell your story in 30 seconds and allow 30 seconds for questions or conversation.

Here is an example:

“I am Passionate about creating efficiency and eliminating manual redundant tasks.  Educated as an engineer, I am Experienced working with robotic process automation and am Knowledgeable in Six Sigma best practices.  My most valuable Skill is the ability to save organizations time and money by streamlining processes and eliminating those manual tasks.  I’m looking for work in process improvement and automation, do you know anyone who might be interested in talking with me about opportunities in their organization?”.

Write An Elevator Story For The Handshake Opportunity

Be prepared to make the most out of a brief introduction when working the room at a networking event.  The Handshake Elevator Story is a shorter version of your Full story.  After writing the full version, you will already have written the points to use in the brief introduction.  There is no need to be redundant in your efforts.

Take a few of the points from the full version that will be most memorable.  The Handshake version might be, “Hi my name is Jim Ryan, I am a consultant and my specialty is improving margins for my clients through process automation.  Tell me about yourself.”

Our friend Jim Ryan quickly explains what he does and then asks about the other person.  This tactic opens the opportunity for more conversation in which Jim will use the last step of PEEKSA by asking for referrals.

Write An Elevator Story For The Lightning Round

The point is that this story needs to have quick impact.

I had placed a recent college graduate in a job with one of my consulting clients when one of my client’s senior executives asked the young man “How are you making a difference?”

Lightning Round responses prepare you chance meetings with executives when you arrive for a job interview.  Be prepared with multiple lightning round elevator stories that give bottom line results like this, “I’ve improved sales by $200 million per year for my last employer and I’d like to do the same for you.”

Be Prepared

Create your own luck by writing an elevator story for each of these circumstances.  Write stories of different lengths for varied audiences and practice by reading them aloud.  Plan ahead when networking and be ready with elevator stories for every opportunity.





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Easy Elevator Story Outline

Elevator Story OutlineElevator Story Outline

An effective elevator story outline help you quickly write multiple versions of your elevator story.  The same outline can help you remember what you want to say when faced with an unexpected networking opportunity during your job search.

Write An Elevator Story Outline With PEEKSA.

Make your elevator story memorable by using an outline based on the acronym “PEEKSA”.  The elements of your elevator story are Passion, Experience, Education, Knowledge, Skills and Ask. Using the PEEKSA elevator story outline, you can tell a story like this:

“I am Passionate about creating efficiency and eliminating manual redundant tasks.  Educated as an engineer, I have Experience working with robotic process automation and I am Knowledgeable in Six Sigma best practices.  My most valuable Skill is the ability to save organizations time and money.  I specialize in streamlining processes and eliminating manual tasks.  I’m looking for a job in process improvement and automation, do you know anyone who might be interested in talking with me about opportunities in their organization?”

The last sentence in that story is a question and it is the “A” or “Ask” in the PEEKSA outline.  The reason for telling your elevator story is to find opportunities, but you must ask for the opportunity.

This example only takes about 30 seconds to say aloud.

Write and Rehearse Your Elevator Story

Preparing for your job search campaign is demanding work, but it will pay dividends.  Being prepared with an outline using the acronym PEEKSA will give you the tools to turn a brief meeting into an opportunity to find your dream job or a new client.

Use the PEEKSA outline to write stories of various lengths.  Practice reading them aloud and begin saying your stories from memory.  Rehearsal is critical because you won’t be able to pull out your note cards when you are face to face with opportunity.  Practice being conversational and engaging.  Most importantly – Ask for the help in finding your dream job.



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Elevator Story Basics

Elevator Story Basics

Elevator Story Basics

There are a few elevator story basics to keep in mind during your job search.  The goal is to write an elevator story short enough that you could tell the story while travelling between a few floors in an elevator.  The maximum length for an elevator story should be no more than two minutes.  There will be opportunities for you to tell your story when you may have more than two minutes and there will be moments when you have only 30 seconds.  Having multiple versions of your elevator story and being able to adapt and state your main points in several ways depending upon your audience and circumstance are crucial.

Your elevator story should tell who you are, what you do and what you want to do. A few elevator story basics to include will answer questions like, “Tell me about yourself”, “What do you do?”.  Your response will give you an opportunity to explain who you are, highlight your success, explain what you want to do.

Tell a story that conveys something about yourself and what you are passionate about.  Include special skills or knowledge that make you a unique candidate.  Weaving your experience and skills into a unique story will make your discussion memorable.

Ask For Help

As you conclude your elevator story, be sure to ask for help.  The elevator story is a valuable part of networking, but you have to be sure to ask the other person to help you.  This can be as simple as saying something like “Do you know of anyone in the area that might need my help?”

Use your own words and ask for what you are looking for, but it is important that you phrase this question properly.  Instead of asking the person with whom you are speaking if she needs your help, ask for a referral.  If you are talking with someone and ask for their help specifically, they may not need your help and fail to think about others in your network who may be looking for someone exactly like you.

What to say in an elevator story

Here is an example using these elevator story basics.  “Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I am Passionate about creating efficiency and eliminating manual redundant tasks.  I am an engineer and have experience working with robotic process automation. I am also knowledgeable in Six Sigma best practices and strive to save companies time and money by streamlining processes and eliminating manual tasks.  I’m looking for a job in process improvement and automation, do you know anyone who I might be able to help?

Using these elevator story basics, This example and only takes about 30 seconds to say aloud.

Elevator Story Basics:  Write and Rehearse Your Elevator Story

Preparing for your job search campaign is demanding work, but it will pay dividends.  Don’t just wing it when it comes to your elevator story.  Take the time to write your elevator story.  Write stories of various lengths from a few seconds up to two minutes in length and take the time to practice reading them aloud.  As you gain confidence and comfort, start practicing saying your stories from memory.  This is critical because when you meet your next opportunity face to face, you won’t want to pull out your note cards.

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Interview Storytelling Ideas

Interview Storytelling Ideas

You are preparing for your job search or an interview and you have read about telling great interview stories, but how do you write and prepare your interview stories?  If you have read Telling Great Interview Stories, then you are ready for more detailed interview storytelling ideas.

Good Interview Stories Technique

A good interview storytelling technique is the 3C model.  Be sure to include the 3C’s in each story.  Start by describing the Circumstance and then explain your Conduct and that actions that you took.  Wrap up your story with a strong conclusion explaining the results of your actions.  Quantify the results as much as possible.  Create at least 15 interview stories to have available at any time.  Now that you have the basic guidelines, you are ready to begin brainstorming interview storytelling ideas.

Interview Storytelling Ideas

The goal is to create 15 stories that you can use during job interviews.  The following list of interview storytelling ideas is divided into three categories to help you organize your thoughts. Choose 4-5 concepts from each category and write an interview story for each one.  Be creative this list is only to help you get started.  There are an endless number of topics that you might develop into an interview story.


  • When you solved a problem
  • When you made a mistake
  • When you improved a process
  • When you overcame challenge
  • When you learned from a mistake
  • A story about working independently without direction

Worked As A Team

  • When you collaborated as part of a teamTeamwork
  • A story about when you helped a co-worker
  • A story about when you solved a complicated problem
  • A time when you volunteered
  • When you demonstrated Leadership
  • A time you learned something about yourself

Dealt With Conflict

  • When you dealt with conflict with a co-worker
  • When you had a disagreement with a client
  • A story about working with a difficult person
  • A story about working through sudden change
  • A story about compromise
  • How you demonstrated creativity to solve a problem

Prepare For Your Interview

After writing your 15 stories from the interview storytelling ideas above, you will be better prepared than most job candidates, but don’t stop there.  Review and rehears your interview stories daily during your job search campaign.  Rehearse each story by reading it aloud so that you are comfortable telling each story.  Begin by reading each story from what you have written.  Since the stories come from your experience, you will learn each one very quickly.  Another learning technique for remembering your job interview stories is to record yourself telling each story and listen to the recording.  To further stamp each story into your memory, listen to the recording in your own voice while you are reading the story aloud.  If you do this exercise 6 times for each story, you will quickly memorize each story and the points you want to make during your interview.


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Telling Great Interview Stories

Telling Interview Stories

Telling interview stories is one of the best ways to answer interview questions and stand out as a memorable job candidate.  Telling stories make us seem more human.  When people can relate to you, they will also come to trust you.  You have probably heard that for someone to do business with you they need to know you, like you and trust you.  Telling good interview stories is an excellent way to accomplish all three and build a relationship with the interviewer and hiring manager.

Don’t rely on your intuition and ability to think quickly during the interview when you may be nervous. Prepare to win the interview by writing your stories in advance and rehearse in advance.

Good Interview Stories Are Focused

Telling interview stories is a winning tactic and the best interview stories are focused and can be used to answer a variety of interview questions.  Career consultants, R.L. Stevens & Associates, called interview stories, “3C Stories” Advising candidates to frame these stories with Circumstance, Conduct and Conclusion.

Write stories that describe a circumstance to set the stage and provide context.  Focus the story on your conduct.  What did you think and feel?  What actions did you take?

The conclusion of your 3’C Story should speak to the results.  Were you successful or not?  Did you achieve our objectives and what were the results of your actions?  Not all 3C stories need to end happily.  If you made a mistake or failed, explain how you learned from the situation and what you would do when faced with a comparable situation in the future.

Stories that demonstrate how you deal with demanding situations build trust and show that you are human and make mistakes like the rest of us.

Creating Interview Stories

Prepare for your job search and interviews by creating at least fifteen 3C Stories.  This type of preparation is challenging work but will increase your confidence in your experience and your interview skills.  Each interview story should be two minutes or less.

Write your 15 interview stories as quickly as possible.  You can refine them later, but draft your stories in the initial stages of your job search.  If you are currently employed, consider writing these stories before you begin your job search.

Rehearsing Your Interview Stories

Writing fifteen job interview stories is valuable, but the value is multiplied when you rehearse these stories regularly.  Rehearse your interview stories by reading them out loud and timing yourself.  Each story should take 2 minutes or less for you to tell.  Follow the 3C method and make your point concisely to capture and hold the attention of your interviewer.Interview Stories

Stand Out With Interview Stories

The more interview stories you write the better prepared you will be to answer interview questions in a way that will make you a memorable candidate and develop a relationship with the interviewer.  Follow the 3C method and complete 15 good stories as soon as possible.  Don’t spend time making the story perfect because you want eno
ugh flexibility to use each story in response to a variety of questions.  Polish your stories by rehearsing and make sure that they are a maximum of 2 minutes in length.

Here is another article you might enjoy about interview stories:

The Interview Technique You Should Be Using

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Manage Your Network

Manage Your Network

How Do You Manage Your Network?

Most people do not have an organized approach to stay connected, but networking is the single most important part of any job search strategy.  A strategic job search campaign requires you to make the most of your networking list.  Statistics say that 85% of jobs are found through networking, so doesn’t it make sense that you would need to manage your network as efficiently as possible.

Build A Network Management Tool

As you begin your job search campaign don’t stop with creating a list of contacts.  You can build a simple networking tool that will keep you organized and even tell you when you need to follow up.

One simple tool you can use is a spreadsheet.  Google Sheets can help you organize all your netwoManage Your Networkrking information in a spreadsheet that you can access from any electronic device with an internet connection.

Divide your list in to three tiers and label them one through three.  At the top of your list, create a tier with the label “new”.  This new tear will not only help you manage your network list of contacts that you already have, but it will help you organize the new contacts that you will make during your job search campaign.

Consider the “New” Tier and Tier 1 contacts your hot prospects.

Tier 1 contacts are those you know well, are willing and able to help you by leveraging their expansive network.  You will consistently reach out to these connections during your job search to network, ask for advice and brainstorm.  Your Tier 1 contacts are your personal board of directors for your job search.

Tier 2 contacts are those connections that may only be acquaintances.  Perhaps they are centers of influence in a professional organization, non-profit.  They may be past clients or work for competitors.  These are the people that you know, but may not know well.

Tier 3 contacts are family and friends outside of the business arena.  This tier could be made of old college friends, former colleagues with whom you have lost contact or former professors.

How To Manage Your Network

This tiered networking system can also become your networking action plan during your job search.  Assign time frames for contacting each tier during your job search by adding columns in your spreadsheet.  Add one column to record your most recent contact date.  Add another column to be a trigger for your next contact date.  Each day, filter the sheet for the current date and you have an instant networking call list for that day.  Expand the list by creating a filter for all call back dates within the next 7 days and you have a weekly networking contact list.

Add additional columns in your spreadsheet for basic contact information including email, phone, and mailing address.

Start Networking For A New Job

You can create a custom tool to manage your network during your job search for free using an Excel or Google Docs
spreadsheet.  YourStart Networking For A Job network management tool should be flexible.  Contacts in the “New” tier will move to Tier 1 or Tier 2 as you determine how they might fit into your search.  Your networking list is a flexible tool that you own and can change at any time.


What tools and techniques would you recommend using to manage your network during your job search?  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

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Build A Networking List

Build A Networking List

The Need For Networking

The numbers are clear:  85% of jobs are now found through networking.  Not only do I believe the statistics, but I am proof.  As I thought about the reality of that number, my memory went to the start of my career.  Even before the life I call my “career”, networking goes back to jobs I had in high school and college.  I found my first job after college through a temporary agency, but that is the exception.  Every other job I’ve had after school, during summers, full time employment, advancement opportunities have come through networking.  After starting my own consulting business, my clients have been gained through networking in some fashion.

When you know the facts, you must consider networking your number one career strategy and use your network to find a job.

Create A Tiered Networking List

Begin by creating a networking list for your job search.  Type the list using Word, Excel or Google Docs and Sheets.  Create three tiers for your contacts.  Tier One is for those contacts that are the biggest centers of influence, those whom you know well and consider to be well known or well connected.  This is your list of “Hot Contacts” and will be the connections your contact first.  Tier Three on your networking list are those contacts that you may not know well or maintain regular contact.

Brainstorm Your List Of Contacts

Let your mind wander through your friends, acquaintances and colleagues.  Include vendors and competitors.  Capture the names of alumni, class mates, teachers, coaches and mentors.  Set a time limit and list as many names as you can in 20 minutes.  Don’t be distracted if you think you’ve listed the name twice.  Do not spend time classifying the names any further and don’t slow yourself down by spelling the names correctly, this list is only for you.  Your goal is not a perfect list, but a list that you can use.

Think of your networking list as a living document that will grow and change during your job search.  Contacts that you have listed as Tier 1 contacts will move to Tier 3 and you will meet new contacts that you will list among your Tier 1 network. After you have a tiered list, make a simple plan to organize your list.

Develop A Follow Up System

Your networking strategy is so critical that you need to stay organized and develop a follow-up plan.  This plan does not need to be elaborate.  Create a system that works for you.  Build a spreadsheet listing each contact name in order by tier.  List their contact information in separate columns including email, phone and mail.  Finally include two columns for dates.  In one column, record the date of your last conversation.  In the other column, record the date when you will follow up with the client.  This method creates a simple daily networking list and you will never waste time wondering whom you should next contact.

Start Networking To Find A Job

Put the statistics to work for you and make networking the biggest part of your job search strategy.  An organized networking list and follow-up plan are essential tools in your job search tool box which show that you are serious about your job search campaign.  Best of luck as you start networking to find a job.

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Researching Your Target List Of Companies

Researching Your Target List Of Companies

Where To Begin Researching Your Target List Of Companies

If you have created a target list of companies for your job search, the next step is to begin researching your target list of companies.   The goal is to build a knowledge base about the companies on your list.  If your target list includes several companies in the same industry, you’ll also build your knowledge of the industry.

Be Efficient When You Research Your Target List Of Companies.

Each day counts during your job search.  Don’t waste time at this point doing detailed research.  You’ll do in depth research during your later interview preparation.  Look for information about corporate culture,
industry news and trends, potential networking contacts and opportunities.

Begin Researching Your Target List Of Companies

View the company website to learn about products, employees, and locations.  Read through press releases for information about what is important to the company.  You’ll find opportunities, quotes from
the leadership team and even challenges they face.  Take notes on each company and list the names of those quoted in press releases.  Research each individual later prior to your interview.

Researching Publicly Traded Companies On Your Target List

While on the corporate website, look for the annual report if the company is publicly traded.  Again, don’t get lost in the details at this point.  Read through the letter to the shareholders and forward looking statements.  Download the report and save it to our computer so that you can come back to it later during your pre-interview preparation.

If you have never looked for or read a corporate annual report before, they are a great source of corporate information in addition to specific financial details about the company.  Look for a link on the company website that says “Investor Information”, “Investor Relations”.  The 10-K filing is required annually by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The Annual report contains the 10-K filing and more conversational letters to shareholders.

Researching Privately Held Companies

You’ll need to look further when researching your target list of companies that are privately held or don’t offer details on their website.

Do a Google search for the company and look for articles in business journals and newspapers which provide valuable information about the company, their competitors and the industry.  Bookmark, save or print these articles for your reference.

Look For Opportunities In Your Target List Of Companies

As you research your target list of companies be aware of potential growth opportunities and challenges. Look for ways that you can overcome the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities.

If a company is working through a recent merger or acquisition or if they have announced an upcoming acquisition, what opportunities exist that fit your skills?

Meeting opportunities and overcoming challenges either make or save money.  DemonstratiResearching Your Target Listng you can do these things for a company, might lead them to create a job for you that doesn’t exist today.  These opportunities are called Spot Opportunities and are a valuable part of your job search strategy.

Consider starting your own business and approaching each company as a consultant or contractor if you can solve their problems.  You can often get meetings with corporate decision makers with this approach which may lead to a new business for you or a job offer.

Benefits Of Researching Your Target List Of Companies

Creating and researching your target list of companies gives you tools to focus your job search, identify networking opportunities and learn about the business and related industry.  These benefits will lead you closer to finding your dream job.

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Do I Need To Create A Target List Of Companies?

Create A Target List Of Companies

Do I Need To Create A Target List Of Companies? | How To Create A Target List Of Companies For Your Job Search

The greater your focus, the more likely your success in finding your dream job rather than settling for the first job offer you receive.  When you create a target list of companies, you will become more focused and increase the efficiency of your job search by eliminating the time you would otherwise spend applying to random job postings.  In this article, I’ve included tips on how to create your list of target employers and how to use your list to find opportunities.

How to create a target list of employers

Where do you want to work?  Create a small list in 30 minutes or less.  You can go back and expand your list later.  The key is to build a list of target companies to begin your job search.  Here are some ideas to help you build your list:

  • Competitors or industry peers of current or past employees
  • Vendors of current/past employers
  • Related industries
  • “Best Places To Work” lists – utilize local, regional and national lists
  • What companies offer products/services that fit with your interests and passions?
  • Professional organizations
  • Related Industries

How To Use Your  Target List Of Companies

Eighty-five percent of jobs are found through networking. Use your target list as a networking plCreate a target list of companiesan. Start by doing some research to find networking contacts at each company on your list.  LinkedIn is a great source for this kind of research because you will find current first level contacts and how you are connected to second and third level contacts.  In addition to LinkedIn research, ask for introductions or recommendations and follow each company on Facebook.  You’ll find several contacts in your network.

Search Job Postings

The next thing you’ll want to do is search the existing job postings on the website of each company on your target list of employers.  Do the same on LinkedIn and you can usually find the contact information of the person that created the posting.  This is a great opportunity to network with the owner of the posting.  The contact is often someone from the HR department and can be a helpful resource.  Introduce yourself and ask for an informational interview about the company and any posted positions as well as future positions that might be available.  This is where you can uncover job opportunities before they are posted to the public.  Be sure to leverage your networking list before applying for any job.

Use Your Target List Of Companies To Guide Your Research

Building a target list of companies provides many useful tools for your job search tool box.  Take the time to answer a few questions about each company.  Create a spreadsheet or a report format for each one that you can review later for interview preparation.  When you are researching the companies on your list, start with these basics:

  • What products and services does the company offer?
  • Where are they located and which markets do they serve?
  • Who are the biggest competitors? (Are these competitors on your target list?)
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What are the biggest opportunities and challenges the company currently faces?
  • Read the press releases for each company over the last 12-24 months?
  • Is the company growing?

If you are still asking the question “Do I need target list of companies?” the answer should be clear.  Click here for more information about creating your target list of employers.  Here is a great article about researching the companies on your target list.

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What Is The Best Job For Me? |Questions To Help You Define Your Dream Job.

What Is The Best Job For Me?

What is the best job for me? If you are asking this question, you are not alone.  Few people know exactly how to match their skills and talents to a career.

I recently wrote the first three steps in starting your job search are

  1. Setup your work space
  2. Define Your Dream Job
  3. Create a list of your preferred employers

After your work space is in order the next step is to define your dream job.  Without clarify, you are more likely to settle for something that sounds good at the moment, but will be disappointing in the long term.

What is the best job for me?

Take some time to answer the following questions to add clarity to your job search

Which type of opportunities energize you?

  1. What industries interest you?
  2. Retail or Wholesale: Would you prefer to work with consumers or does a business to business environment appeal to you?
  3. In what size of company do you see yourself working?
  4. Working as team or working independently?
  5. Do you want to travel and if so, what percentage of time do you want to spend away from home?
  6. Are you extroverted and interested in sales?
  7. If you are an introvert, would you prefer working along?
  8. Do you like sales and computers? E-Commerce might be a possibility?
  9. If you like technology, do you want to write code?

Terms and Hours

What type of flexibility is important to you?  Have you considered full time, part time or flex time options?

Do you want a permanent position or are you open to long term assignments or short term contracts?

Do you need flexibility in your schedule or would you like regular office hours?

Are you open to working nights and weekends or is a day job Monday through Friday more your style?


Where do live now?  Do you want to live and work in an urban or rural setting?  Defining Your Dream Job

Driving distance – how far are you willing to commute each day?

Relocation – Are you open to relocating and if so, will you move regionally, across the country or even to another part of the world?

Work from home jobs are quite common today. Do you prefer to work with others or can you work remotely from home and work independently?

Location independence:  Do you want a job that allows you to live anywhere in the world while earning money to pay for your lifestyle?


Which of the following are important?

Would you like an hourly wage or an annual salary?

If you are interested in sales, do you like the opportunity of a pure commission compensation structure or would you like the security of an annual salary plus the earning potential of bonuses and commissions?

Is overtime acceptable?

Are you able to work second or third shift? Some occupations pay more for shift differentials if you are able to work these hours.

How does a retirement plan or 401K with an employer contribution sound?  Would you accept a job without a 401k match?

What type benefits are important to you? Which are your “must haves?”

Will you have student loans and are there potential employers that will reimburse your educational expenses?

 Corporate Culture:

What type of an environment is exciting?  Are you looking for a company that promotes creative ideas and entrepreneurship?  Would you like to work in a more traditional setting?

What is the best job for me?  Take the time to answer these questions with as much detail as possible and you will develop a focus that will lead you to your ideal job…Your dream job awaits.

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