Whether you’re networking or going in for an interview, introducing yourself is a key part of the job search process. That’s where the elevator pitch comes in — a succinct yet impactful summary of yourself, that can grab someone’s attention within 30 seconds. If the thought of putting that together sounds intimidating, you’re not alone! So, we’ve got some tips on how to write an elevator pitch, to help ensure each meeting is a success.
Know when to use an elevator pitch
First of all, it’s good to keep in mind the right times and places to use an elevator pitch. If you’re currently in the job market, career fairs, expos, networking events, professional associations, and even your LinkedIn bio are great opportunities. You’ll also want to have one on hand for job interviews (for the inevitable “tell me about yourself” portion) and introductions to new coworkers (once you’ve landed the job).
Identify your goal
Before you dive into creating your pitch, you’ll want to solidify the goal of your speech — what is your aim in introducing yourself to this person? Are you looking for a job in a specific field, company, or location? Do you have a new business idea? Are you simply looking to gain more professional contacts? Honing in one what you want will help inform what you say, in order to make your pitch as persuasive as possible.
Answer three key questions
Once you know your goals, it’s time to start writing. When crafting an elevator pitch, there are three main points you should include:
- Who are you?
- Make sure to introduce yourself.
- What do you do and how do you do it?
- Let them know what value you add and what sets you apart from the crowd.
- What do you want?
- Your goal is the whole purpose of giving this speech, so be sure to talk about it!
Finish with a call to action
You may have gotten your listener hooked, but it won’t be much use if they aren’t given any next steps to take. Maybe you’re interested in a job at their company, or you’d like to set up a meeting to talk further. It can be intimidating, but it’s important to ask for what you want in order to reap the benefits of your pitch.
Keep your pitch brief and conversational
The point of an elevator pitch is that it’s short enough to capture someone’s interest while being said in a 30-second elevator ride. After you’ve put together your initial draft, edit and pare down what you’ve written so that it’s concise, to the point, and easy to understand. Only touch on what’s important, stick to one or two abbreviated examples of your work, and avoid rambling or tangents. And remember, you want to sound conversational, not overly stiff and formal.
As with every other step of the job search process, it’s essential to put in a lot of practice on your pitch. Give the speech to yourself in front of a mirror or to your family or friends. This way, you can get used to saying it within the right amount of time, while still being conversational, using positive body language, not rushing your words, and not forgetting any key elements. The more you can nail down your delivery, the more effective it will be.
Be prepared to customize
Finally, be ready to be flexible with your pitch. While the key themes will stay the same, you’ll want to tailor it to your audience — after all, a hiring manager at a career fair will require a different tone and vocabulary than a CTO you’ve met at a networking event. Have a few slight variations on hand to allow you to adapt to different situations.
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