Essential career tool: Prepare your elevator pitch

Whether you are actively looking for a new job or are just open to potential opportunities that come your way, it is a good idea to have an elevator pitch honed and practiced. It’s an essential career tool for networking, connecting with potential employers, and marketing yourself.

Your elevator pitch is a short couple of sentences that describe your career background, highlights, and goals in a conversational manner. It’s not a long list of all your accomplishments and achievements – that can sound overly boastful. It’s just enough for you to summarize your expertise and career path should someone ask.

The name comes from the idea of being able to make an impression on a decision-maker at your dream job, if you found yourself conversing with them in an elevator. You would have just enough time to pitch your talent and services in how long it takes the elevator to reach their floor.

So, in that scenario, you have a brief encounter with the employer for your ideal position and the chance to introduce yourself. What do you say?

Provide a brief summary of what it is that you do and what makes you stand out at it. Then add a sentence about where you want to go next.

For example:

The summary: Hi, there. It’s nice to meet you. My name is Peter, and I have a background in professional writing and online communications. I’ve headed up the online content for a number of publications over the past decade or so. I launched ACME Co.’s Canadian website, and served as head of editorial for XYZ. Most recently, my team won a Webby Award for career content for 2019.

The Ask: I’ve been reading your website since you launched, and I’m a huge fan of your ABC style. That is why I appreciate the chance to meet you today. I would love to contribute to your publication if you ever needed it, and I’ve got some great ideas that I’d be excited to share with you.

Your enthusiasm for the brand and the job can go a long way towards swaying employers in your favour.

Once you have your core message down, practice it. The more often you say it out loud the more natural it will sound. You want to come across as conversational, not robotic or rehearsed.

Good communications skills and a positive, upbeat attitude make you seem more likeable – and therefore more hireable.

You may not end up in an elevator with the CEO of your dream company, but you can use your professional pitch at industry events, job fairs, chance encounters or job interview pre-screening phone calls. It also serves as a template for job interview answers to questions such as “Tell me about yourself…” and “Why should I hire you?”

An elevator pitch summarizes your key career assets in 30 seconds or less. Having it polished and practised can be an essential career tool and make networking easier.

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