We’ve all seen those movies where the young star manages to get into an elevator with some super important person and impress them so much by what they say that their life is changed forever. Only happens in the movies, right? Wrong! It happens every day. Maybe not in elevators. But it happens at job fairs, networking events and – most importantly – in the first five minutes of every job interview.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is super quick summary of you and your brand. Giving your perfect elevator pitch by speaking confidently about your skills and future goals in front of a prospective employer is something most of us wrestle with. If done poorly, it can result in your being passed over for opportunities that may have been perfect for you. If done well, it can be the one thing that sets you apart from all other job candidates and helps you land that job of your dreams.
Chances are if you’re a recent graduate, you’ve had some experience pulling together a decent resume and cover letter. You may have had to do it to be accepted into your course of study or to land those first summer jobs you took on to help pay for it. But when was the last time you were asked to verbally explain who you are and what you want to do? Do you know what to say if you aren’t quite sure yet where your future lies?
What should an elevator pitch include?
The online career coach Prepped recommends all job applicants prepare an elevator pitch that includes the following four things:
- Who you are
- What you do
- What makes you unique
- What you’re looking for
Tailor your elevator pitch for each audience
Lauren Berger, founder and CEO of internqueen.com, a site that provides career advice and connects corporations with those searching for internship opportunities, says it’s also important to keep in mind who it is you’re talking to. In her YouTube video, How to create your 30-second elevator pitch, she says, you need to make a connection right away between what you’re saying and the person you’re speaking to. “Why you want the person next to you to listen.”
So, if you’re applying for multiple jobs with different corporations, you need to create multiple variations of your elevator pitch in just the same way you need to prepare individual, targeted cover letters. Always keep in mind that no matter how awesome your skill sets are, it’s irrelevant unless they relate in some way to the person you are talking to or the position you’re going after.
Berger also stresses the most important thing to nail down is that “ask.” She says, “A lot of students email me and ask me for advice but they’re very unclear as to what I can actually help them with.” Her advice? Be specific – tell someone exactly what it is you’re looking for. Are you asking them to be your mentor? Are you hoping to get an internship at their firm? If you don’t tell them what you want, they can’t help you.
Practice your elevator pitch
Once you’ve nailed down your perfect pitch, you need to practice it. Laura Kirsch, co-founder of Prepped, says, “saying it out loud is critical. Recite, rehearse and repeat to make sure you’re confident in your delivery. This will also help you memorize your key points so you can adapt your pitch to be used in any situation.”
And no matter what response you get to your elevator pitch, Berger’s advice is to, “always kill them with kindness and close out in a very pleasant way.” Who knows? They may not end up hiring you. But they may know someone else who will!
Need help developing your perfect elevator pitch?
Sign-up for Prepped to use their elevator pitch generator and get help on everything from building your resume to writing an effective cover letter.