When I give students advice on their resumes, I always encourage them to put the most impressive stuff on there – front and center. I say to them, “if you were in an elevator with the CEO of your dream company and had less than 30 seconds, what would you say?”
But it’s a real question; what would you do if you were in an elevator with an executive from your dream company for less than 30 seconds? What would you talk about?
Forget the “my name” is line and the robotic first sentence. We know you are nervous, take a deep breath before you start speaking and dive in. Here’s an example of a student whose dream job is to be a speaking agent. He happens to be interning at a speaking agency this summer. “My name’s Andrew, I got to FSU and I’m interning here this summer. I really want to be a speaking agent after graduation and I’m such a fan of yours.” Your quickly introducing yourself and explaining why you are at the company (interning). You are connecting yourself to the executive at the company by saying “I want to be a speaking agent” and you are ending with a short compliment “I’m such a fan.”
Now it’s time to name drop (quickly). What are your coolest/most relevant accomplishments? Here’s what Andrew would say, “I’m the president of my local chapter of Toastmasters International. I’ve booked ten speakers for my college with a budget of 300K.” For those of you who don’t know, Toastmasters, is an international public speaking club.
Then you go in for the ask (or the close). First, you need to quickly decide what you are asking. For a meeting? For a call? To send over a resume? What is that?
“I know you are busy, but could we set up a 15-minute informational interview? I’d love to ask your advice and hear about how you got started.” These would be called informational interviews. You could also ask for a coffee, to come by their office, and more.