If you were riding an elevator with the HR hiring manager of your dream job what would you say to him or her? Would you be ready strike up a conversation, sell yourself, and land that dream job?
That’s exactly what an elevator pitch is. It’s a short snippet about who you are and what you have accomplished. You never know when you may meet someone that could change the direction of your career, which is why it is so important to have your elevator pitch well rehearsed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. I’ve heard stories of people landing jobs through conversations they’ve had at happy hours, cocktail parties, and even nail salons!
An elevator pitch should be succinct and persuasive. It should make you sound confident (hence why it’s so important to practice it). It should summarize you and explain why you would be perfect for the role. And here is the hard part – it should all be condensed to about 30 seconds to under a minute.
- Whoever is listening to your elevator pitch should be able to clearly identify your job target and career field of interest – no one can help you find a job if they don’t know what you’re looking for!
- Update your resume, write down all of your accomplishments, and then cross out anything and everything that does not directly lend itself to your future goals. The final list should be short, succinct, and should be enticing.
- The first few seconds of your pitch should check off who you are (name), what you’re experience is (x years in y industry), and what you’re looking for (job title/field). The rest of the time can be spent adding unique value to your pitch.
- Be benefit-focused. Tell the person you’re talking to why you would be a great asset to THEM. What do you bring to the table that will benefit him or her? Tell them.
- Avoid jargon. Anyone listening should know what you’re saying.
- Practice. First practice reading it aloud. Then practice it from memory in front of a mirror – awkward! Finally, practice in front of a friend, significant other, or parent and get their feedback.
- Be able to think and adapt on your feet, with confidence! You won’t necessarily say the exact same thing to vastly different people, so adapt your pitch to whoever you are talking to. Trust me, this is much easier once you have it memorized and etched into your brain.
This simple task could land you your dream job, so why not take the time to have it prepared? It would be a shame if you met with a once in a lifetime person and you didn’t have an elevator pitch ready.
There are a few important mistakes to avoid. Don’t sound too rehearsed or robotic, keep the tone conversational! Because you have it practiced, this is a chance to let your personality shine through as well. Don’t speak too fast. I know I said try and get your pitch to 30 seconds, but that doesn’t mean speak as fast as you can to hit that mark. Sound confident, calm, and collected. No one is going to be timing your elevator pitch, so take your time. Finally, the worst mistake you could make – don’t not say anything! If you have someone standing in front of you that could change your life, talk to them! The worst that could happen is the experience becomes good practice for your next chance.