As social media and the internet are the primary means of communication among employers and job seekers, it is important to take advantage of valuable facetime opportunities when they arise.

One way to be prepared is with an "elevator speech." This is a 30-60 second speech describing who you are, what you do or have done, and how your experience may benefit your audience.

Here are five components of an effective elevator speech, according to Trident's Center for Career Planning and Workforce Strategies:

  1. The "hook" is a statement or question that sparks interest. Use the research you've done on your audience, and open with something relative to their needs and how you can meet those needs.
  2. Tell a story. Include statements that define what positions you've held and your accomplishments in those positions.
  3. Remember your target and your goal. Speak only about what is relevant to your audience. Give an abbreviated version of your goal.
  4. Show confidence. Speak clearly, using powerful, descriptive words that are easy to comprehend. Pay close attention to your body language. Smile and stand or sit up straight.
  5. Ask for something. Offer your resume or portfolio, or ask for a business card so you can follow up with them in a few days.

Additionally, always make your audience feel important. Value their time and their expertise. After your speech, ask a question that gives them an opportunity to give an opinion or tell their own story. Then comment on what they say.

And remember, like a resume, an elevator speech should be tailored to your audience, so have a few at the ready and use whichever one is most appropriate.