Creating the Perfect Elevator Pitch
Picture this: You are invited to a party.
You’re a pretty social person, so you’re excited about the prospect. But then, it hits you. You are unemployed. And what do people ask when you first meet them? ‘So, what do you do?’
This, my friend, is your cue to launch into your elevator pitch.
Elevator Pitches, also known as Personal Statements are changeable. They can be given over the telephone or in person, at professional conferences, interviews or anywhere people gather – including a party or an elevator! It is your opportunity to tell people who you are, what you’ve done and where you’d like to be – all in about 30 seconds.
Depending on where you are going, you’ll want to prepare your elevator pitch ahead of time. Consider the following:
- Who will be there?
- What kind of event is it (professional networking, party, workshop)?
- What do you want people to know about you?
Of course, how you respond to the ‘what do you do?’ question at a party will differ in how you answer it in a professional setting, but the core information should include:
Who you are (your name, if they don’t already have it).
What you do – Previous experience, training/education, which could include two of the following:
- I am a certified ___________________ (Accountant, IT specialist, etc.).
- I have a degree in _______________ and have worked as a ______________.
- I have worked as a _____________ for __________ years.
- My background is in the _______________ field and I specialize in _______________.
- I have a varied background, including ______________ and ______________.
What you are looking for – Give the listener an idea of what you are seeking.
- Currently I am looking for work in _______________.
Call to Action – Open up the possibility that they might know someone in their network
- Let me give you my card (or suggest you connect on LinkedIn). If you happen to know anyone I could talk to, I would appreciate it.
Thank you – Thank the person (if it is relevant) AND don’t forget to ask them the same question (if at a party or networking event).
DELIVERY & BODY LANGUAGE
You may have realized that an Elevator Pitch can also be used when you are reaching out directly to companies or people for information. Regardless of the situation, you want to deliver your Elevator Pitch in a way that radiates confidence and positivity.
Once you’ve established what you will say, you will want to practice how you will say it.
Avoid remarks around how frustrating the job hunt is (as truthful as that may be to you). Stick with the script you’ve set out for yourself.
Body language is key here. Maintain a confident stance, holding your shoulders back and maintaining eye contact. Smile when describing your previous experience and pause to allow them to ask any clarifying questions.
Here are a few examples to consider, depending on the scenario:
ELEVATOR PITCH EXAMPLES
Contacting a company:
Hi, my name is Michelle Jones. I just recently completed a Mathematics degree and have worked as a Junior Data Analyst at a shipping company. I am currently looking for similar roles within the IT sector and Hootsuite has come up often in my research. I was wondering if we could arrange for a meeting to discuss Hootsuite and its hiring process.
Speaking with someone at a networking event or party (in response to the ‘what do you do?’ question):
Hi, my name is Mo Rasti. I’m trained as an Accountant in Iran and worked for more than 4 years in the industry before moving to Vancouver. My experience is in the construction industry, so I’d like to continue that here. If you happen to know anyone in that industry that I could talk to, that would be great. Could we connect on LinkedIn?
Contacting a company for information during a career transition (with referral):
Hi, my name is Roberta Donatucci and I was referred to you by James Smith. I’m wondering if you could help me? I am a certified Fitness Instructor with over 5 years of experience in the field. I’m doing a career transition and am looking into a couple of options. I have always been very interested in health and wellness and would love to incorporate my fitness knowledge into a company that specializes in homeopathic medicine. Could we meet for 15-20 minutes next week so that I can ask you some questions about this industry?
As previously stated, the Elevator Pitch can be altered to fit any scenario. The important thing is to include all the necessary information so that people have a good idea of what you need. A very relevant statement comes to mind right now. It is one of my favourites: If people know how they can help you and they can, they will!
ELEVATOR PITCH TIPS
- Don’t rush through the speech, pause briefly between sentences … breathe!
- Express confidence, be warm, friendly and enthusiastic
- Do research on the organization/company when developing an Elevator Pitch for a specific employer
- End with an action request, ask for a business card and/or an information meeting appointment
- The Elevator Pitch can be used in person, a cold telephone call or email
Chantal Rackley is a Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) and career advisor at the WorkBC North Shore. She has over 11 years of advising and facilitating experience.
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