Everyone tells you that you have to have one when you’re looking for a job. Everyone. But no one really takes the time to help you develop one. Here are five easy steps to developing a good “elevator pitch.”
What is an elevator pitch? According to Wikipedia:
“An elevator pitch or elevator speech is a short, persuasive description of a person, organization or group, or an idea for a product, service, or project. An elevator pitch is often a part of a marketing communications, brand, or public relations program. Good elevator pitches are concise and compelling to their target audience.
The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver a pitch in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.”
Concise and compelling are two good things to be when you’re in a job search. So here’s how you can build a killer elevator pitch.
- Identify who and what you are. The Who counts, even for people you’ve met before. Never assume that someone remembers your name, even if they seem to remember you. Restating your name as you meet someone is a courtesy that makes a big difference for busy people. What you includes your previous or prospective job title and perhaps a bit about where you are in the spectrum of entry level to senior management. “I’m a graphic designer with 10 years of experience, mostly in mid-size ad agencies.” “I’m a sales manager who was recently promoted to oversee the 5-state region.”
- Next, differentiate yourself by saying what you specialize in. You can use the term “specialize” or simply say that “the majority of my experience is …” whichever feels right for you. “I specialize in forensic auditing.” “I’ve spent a lot of time helping my company put together requests for quotes and manage vendor relations.”
- As a follow on, state your current career goal. “I was laid off recently, so I’m looking for an accounting opportunity with a local logistics firm.” “I’ve been interviewing with a few manufacturers, looking for the right operations management position.”
- Assuming that you’re using this elevator pitch at an event or location outside your home, you can state why you’re attending. “I’m here today to get a feel for what people in the industry are saying about sales for the next quarter.” “I’m here today to get to expand my network to include people outside my industry.” “I’m here today to meet (person of your choice.)” You never know if the person you’re meeting can help you with that immediate goal.
- This may be the most important step of all: Ask the person you’ve met: “What about you?” The biggest mistake that most jobseekers make is to focus solely on themselves (easy to do if you’re out of work and desperate.) They miss out on opportunities because they don’t take the time to ask good questions and listen to other people. Great networkers focus more on others than themselves.