An elevator pitch is a short summary used to tell about a person or organization in a quick and concise way. This is an important asset for your job search. It’s an effective way of telling a potential employer who you are, how you can contribute, and what kind of position you’re seeking. Try out these suggestions for preparing and presenting your introduction.
Preparing Your Elevator Pitch
1. Write it down. Even though you’ll usually deliver your pitch out loud, writing it out on paper is a good practice. You’ll be able to tell if it flows well and covers all the essential points.
2. 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.
3. Clarify your goals. Identify what you want to accomplish. Perhaps you’re targeting a specific position at a certain company. Maybe you want to explore a range of opportunities related to teaching chemistry or selling real estate.
4. Quantify your achievements. Summarize your accomplishments. If possible, add in an impressive statistic like how many books you’ve published or certifications you’ve earned.
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. Accentuate 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.
Presenting Your Elevator Pitch
1. Invent 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. Rehearse carefully. Practice while looking in a mirror or record yourself. Talking out loud will help you determine if your speech sounds natural.
3. Invite feedback. Ask friends to let you practice on them. Use their suggestions and questions to make adjustments. You may need to speak more slowly or translate industry jargon into language that’s easier to understand.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Exude 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.
7. Be prepared. You can use your speech for more than just job interviews. Keep it in mind when you’re at cocktail parties, soccer games, or shopping malls. It’s possible you’ll bump into someone who may have a lead on the kind of position you are seeking.
8. Remember to follow up. Think of your pitch as the first step in a longer process. Hand out and collect business cards. Suggest getting together for coffee to continue a discussion.
An effective elevator pitch arouses people’s curiosity and makes them want to learn more about you. Equip yourself with an introduction that will show employers why you would be a valuable addition to their team.
Check out my Job Search Playbook for the perfect elevator script sample which also answers the question, “Tell me about yourself.”