The clock’s ticking. Somehow you’ve managed to gain the attention of a prospective employer at a party, during a job interview, outside an office building or inside an elevator. You have less than a minute to introduce yourself and impress the socks off this individual. Got your elevator pitch ready? If not, then get busy and prepare one; scenarios like this don’t happen too often. Make the most of these serendipitous and potentially advantageous abbreviated meetings by putting your best foot forward with a brief, informative, tantalizing presentation that can land you a desirable job.
Stand Out from the Crowd
You’re pitching yourself to a potential employer, so make your spiel as interesting and entertaining as possible while still hitting the high points of your illustrious employment history. Find a professional yet casual approach or tone that will put your listener at ease and foster a willingness to listen.
Keep It Pithy, Punchy and Easy to Understand
You don’t need to sound frenzied or fake, as if you’re selling yourself like an “As Seen On TV!” product, but do sound enthusiastic and confident about what you have to offer. Use clear, concise language that draws the listener in. Bear in mind these few tips when crafting your elevator pitch:
- Jot it down: As you begin writing your pitch, don’t worry about length. The goal is to create a positive “you” identity by listing your traits, glowing credentials, vast experience and educational accomplishments in the best manner possible. Ask yourself what information needs to be expressed, how you want to be perceived by your listener and what makes you unique as you keep your employment goals in mind. Hone your pitch until it sounds natural and engaging.
- Begin with a hook: Any good story has a strong hook that snags the listener’s attention. In this case, a hook can be an intriguing question, analogy or bold statement about you. However, don’t try to impress by being arrogantly clever or uncomfortably cuddly. And, of course, always introduce yourself first.
- Use powerful action verbs when describing what you do: For instance, “I engineer innovative, highly technical cochlear implants that bring hearing to the deaf.” The example illustrates how to begin by describing what it is you do (using an active verb), whom you do it for and why people want what you do.
- Practice in front of a mirror: Once you’ve timed your pitch to fit within the time constraints, it’s time to read it aloud as you stand in front of a mirror. Rehearse your pitch over and over again until you feel utterly at ease presenting it to yourself, and continue to fine-tune and tweak until you’re completely satisfied with it.
Confidence Wins the Day
Be sure to exchange contact information once the meeting has concluded, then follow up afterwards via email. Reiterate the strengths you discussed during the elevator pitch, and express your gratitude for the meeting and your enthusiasm about continuing to strengthen the relationship with your prospective employer.
No elevator pitch gets off the ground unless it’s injected with a healthy dose of confidence. There’s no reason not to be confident, because you’ve prepared well, are an expert at what you do and know exactly what to say when serendipity presents you with a critical minute of a prospective employer’s valuable time.
Do you have an elevator pitch for yourself or your business? Let’s hear it.