An elevator pitch is a short, compelling introduction of who you are and what you do, that can be delivered in 60 seconds or less.
This is an important asset for your job search.
Imagine that you stepped into the elevator and behold, right in front of you, is the CEO of that company you have been dreaming about working for. Just the two of you! And the CEO asks you: “What do you do?” Can you communicate to him who you are, what you do, and how you can contribute to his organization within the time it takes to ride that elevator to his floor?
The key here is to be succinct, unique and memorable.
Although the usual imagery is the elevator ride, this pitch can be used anywhere when introducing yourself to people… during job interviews, at networking events, at conferences, during sales pitches or anywhere else where it is necessary to market yourself.
The perfect elevator pitch does not come by chance. You have to craft it, and practice it. The following suggestions can help you prepare and present your introduction.
Preparing Your Perfect Elevator Pitch
1.Watch 30-second Television Commercials:
Yes, you read that right. Spend some time in front of the television (or on YouTube) and watch a bunch of good 30-second ads. Pay attention to how the presenters try to convince you to buy the product or service. This simple exercise will help you understand the idea behind “marketing” yourself in 60 seconds or less.
2. Pen and Paper:
You will need to write down your pitch. And you will have to go through multiples drafts. You’ll be able to tell if it flows well and covers all the essential points.
3. Clarify your goals:
Identify what you consider to be the goal of the pitch. Perhaps you’re targeting a specific position at a certain company. Maybe you want to explore a range of opportunities related to teaching biology or selling real estate.
4. Quantify your achievements:
Summarize your accomplishments. Be specific. Consider these two intro: “I am great at sales,” or “I turned around sales performance of a last-placed branch to #1 out of 67 in two years.” Which one do you think will raise the interest of that CEO in the elevator?
5. Focus on your audience:
Think about what your listener needs and discuss the benefits you could deliver to them. State your ability to enhance quality, save money, or create more efficient systems. Be prepared with more details in case there are any questions.
6. Emphasize your strengths:
Use a positive statement about your qualifications that focuses on your strengths. During the interview process, you may be asked about your weaknesses, but you can worry about that later.
7. Keep it brief:
You want a pitch that would fit into the average elevator ride of about 30 seconds to 2 minutes. In most cases, that means less than 200 words. Cut out industry jargon and any redundancies.
Presenting Your Elevator Pitch
1. Craft multiple versions:
Adapt your elevator pitch to a variety of circumstances. That way you can respond if you have extra time. You’ll also be able to talk to industry insiders and other professionals who are less familiar with your background.
2. Practice, practice, practice:
Practice while looking in a mirror. Talking out loud will help you determine if your speech sounds natural. Ask friends to let you practice on them. Use their feedback to make revisions. Record yourself and play back the recording to gauge how you sound. Be sure you are not talking too fast.
3. Stay up to date:
Review your pitch on a regular basis. There may be buzzwords that grow stale over time and need to be replaced. Also, you may have earned new credentials that you want to include.
4. Spend time listening:
Watch for the other person’s reactions and listen to their comments. Ideally, you’ll open up a two-way conversation. Pick someone you admire and pay attention to the way they introduce themselves. It could give you some worthwhile ideas.
5. Project confidence:
Start out with a firm handshake as long as it’s appropriate for the setting and situation. Radiate enthusiasm. Hold your head up high and smile. Make eye contact for a few seconds.
6. Follow up:
Think of your pitch as the first step in a longer process. Give out and collect business cards. Suggest getting together for coffee to continue a discussion.
The perfect elevator pitch stirs people’s curiosity and makes them want to learn more about you. Equip yourself with an introduction that will show potential employers why you would be a valuable addition to their team.