Whether you’re looking to make new contacts at a career fair, enquiring about unsolicited applications, or being asked to tell a little about yourself at an interview, crafting a solid gold elevator pitch will put you in a strong position when job hunting or networking.
An elevator pitch is a 30-60 second speech which you use to tell people who you are, what you do, and why they should hire you.
However, it can be difficult to write an elevator pitch that is short and sweet, which at the same time includes all the essential information you wish to communicate. It’s also even harder to deliver this pitch confidently; sometimes we don’t always feel comfortable talking about our achievements as it can feel like we’re being arrogant or boasting.
Nevertheless, elevator pitches are becoming an increasingly important job-hunting tool, so it’s critical that you spend some time writing one that works for you. Here are the five steps to pitch success:
1. Clarify your target
It’s almost impossible to create an effective pitch if you aren’t sure what job you’re looking for, or what information is relevant to include. If you’re using your pitch for networking, you might want to try describing your perfect position and tailoring it to this ideal job. If you are using it to apply for a particular role, research the position and clarify what skills and experience are most important.
2. Brainstorm your content
Brainstorm how your experience, education, skills and personality fit the role. Focus on how you can benefit the company rather than on yourself as this will ensure that your content is targeted to your audience. Ask yourself how your personal profile could help them.
3. Ask yourself why
One of the key mistakes that people make when writing elevator pitches is that they end up with something that sounds like a pompous sales pitch for themselves. Avoid this by asking yourself a few questions. Why do you really want the job? What do you love about this industry? What motivates you to get up in the morning? Answer these questions as honestly as possible and add them to your brainstorm. Your answers are likely to be crucial information in your pitch as they will really help you connect with your listeners. We intuitively warm to honest people, and speaking plainly about your motivations will help employers understand and relate to you.
4. Edit and refine your ideas
Once you have brainstormed your content try to consolidate it and write your ideas out in 4-5 lines. Read these out loud and if they sound awkward or self-conscious rephrase them. Don’t worry about including all the content you have brainstormed, just pick one or two powerful ideas that you feel really get your message across.
5. Practice until you feel comfortable and relaxed
Your pitch should sound like it is part of a natural conversation, and anything that you find difficult to say should be cut or rephrased. Try it out on friends and family members and ask them for their honest feedback. If you find it embarrassing to talk about your achievements try to combine them with your motivations. It’s much easier to say “I love connecting with people which is why I became a member and eventually chair of my university social events committee” rather than “I was chair of my university social committee because I’m such a great manager and excellent at organising large events”.
All prepared? Then find out how you can get the most out of your pitch when delivering it.