As Yogi Berra famously said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
So when you begin putting an elevator pitch together, nail down the best way to describe your field and the type of job you’re pursuing. Until you can clearly explain the type of position you want, nobody can help you find it or hire you to do it.
Write down everything you’d want a prospective employer to know about your skills, accomplishments and work experiences that are relevant to your target position. Then grab a red pen and mercilessly delete everything that’s not critical to your pitch.
Keep editing until you’ve got the speech down to a few key bullet points or sentences. Your goal is to interest the listener in learning more, not to tell your whole life story. So remove extraneous details that detract from your core message.
A good pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for?
Here’s an example of how to begin a pitch that includes the essentials: “Hi. I am Jessica Hill. I am an accountant with 10 years experience in the insurance industry and I'm looking for opportunities in the Dallas area with both insurance and finance companies.”
That speech would take about 15 seconds. Jessica would then want to use her next 15 seconds to add details about her unique selling proposition, special skills and specific ways she could help a potential employer.
It’s important to remember that the people listening to your speech will have their antennas tuned to WIFM (What’s in It for Me?) So be sure to focus your message on their needs. For example, this introduction: “I am a human resources professional with 10 years experience working for consumer products companies.” The pitch would be more powerful if you said, “I am a human resources professional with a strong track record in helping to identify and recruit top-level talent into management.” Using benefit-focused terminology will help convince an interviewer that you have the experience, savvy and skills to get the job done at his or her business.
You need to make your pitch easy for anyone to understand, so avoid using acronyms and tech-speak that the average person or job interviewer might not understand. The last thing you want to do is make your listener feel stupid or uninformed.
Note: Writing is more formal and structured than speaking. If you’re not careful, your elevator pitch can come off sounding more like an infomercial than a conversation. Reading it aloud then tinkering with the words will help you sound more authentic.
Rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror or use the recording capabilities of your computer, so you can see and hear how you sound.
This might feel awkward at first, but the more you practice, the smoother your delivery will be.
Keep tweaking your pitch until it no longer sounds rehearsed. When your presentation is polished to your satisfaction, try it out on a few friends and ask them what they thought your key points were. If their response doesn’t square with your objective, the speech still needs work.
You might want to say things slightly differently to an interviewer than to a former colleague. Also, sometimes you'll just have 15 seconds for a pitch (kind of a short elevator ride), other times you may have a minute or two. So focus on mastering a few key talking points then work up ways to customize your speech for particular situations. Note: Use the word count feature on your computer to create shorter and longer pitches; a good rule of thumb is that you can say about 150 words in one minute.
The best-worded elevator pitch in the world will fall flat unless it’s conveyed well.
When you give the speech, look the person in the eye, smile and deliver your message with a confident, upbeat delivery.
Get your pitch right and you might soon find yourself riding an actual elevator at your new job.
Please use these examples as guidelines in crafting your own elevator pitch. Make sure your speech includes details on your background, as well as what you'd provide an employer with:
EXAMPLE: Hello, my name is Greg Smith and I recently graduated from college with a degree in communications. I worked on the college newspaper as a reporter, and eventually, as the editor of the arts section. I'm looking for a job that will put my skills as a journalist to work. If you are interested in connecting please contact me at the below e-mail address. Thank you..
EXAMPLE: Hello, my name is Mildred Waters and I have a decade's worth of experience in accounting, working primarily with small and midsize firms. If your company is ever in need of an extra set of hands, I'd be thrilled to consult. If you are interested in connecting please contact me at the below e-mail address. Thank you..
EXAMPLE: Hello, my name is Bob Stewert, and after years of working at other dentists' offices, I'm taking the plunge and opening my own office. If you know anyone who's looking for a new dentist, I hope you'll send them my way! If you are interested in connecting please contact me at the below e-mail address. Thank you..
EXAMPLE: Hello, my name is Bob Stewert, and I create illustrations for websites and brands. My passion is coming up with creative ways to express a message, and drawing illustrations that people share on social media. If you are interested in connecting please contact me at the below e-mail address. Thank you..
EXAMPLE: Hello, my name is Bob Stewert, and I'm a lawyer with the government, based out of D.C. I grew up in Ohio, though, and I'm looking to relocate closer to my roots, and join a family-friendly firm. I specialize in labor law and worked for ABC firm before joining the government. If you are interested in connecting please contact me at the below e-mail address. Thank you..
EXAMPLE: Hello, my name is Sara Tremble, and I run a trucking company. It's a family-owned business, and we think the personal touch makes a big difference to our customers. Not only do we guarantee on-time delivery, but my father and I personally answer the phones, not an automated system. If you are interested in connecting please contact me at the below e-mail address. Thank you..
FOCUS ON THE ESSENTIALS:
Say who you are, what you do, and what you want to achieve.
BE POSITIVE AND PERSUASIVE:
Your time is limited. Focus on what you want to do, not what you don’t want to do. Be upbeat and flexible.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE:
Deliver your speech to a friend before you record it, so that you can be sure that your message is clear.