Are We Stuck?! Your Job Search Elevator Pitch

Posted: 08/22/2010 in Networking
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The elevator pitch, sometimes known as the 30-second infomercial, is one of the most important tools in your job search along with your resume, self-esteem and breath mints.

The elevator pitch is your (short) spiel about yourself professionally; how you market yourself verbally. That doesn’t mean you just spit it out to anyone and everyone you meet, including people in an actual elevator. The guy on the stretcher next to you in the emergency room, where you’ve landed after tripping over your dog’s foot and banging your nose on the coffee table, may not want to hear it. You do, however, want to say it when it’s appropriate, like when you’re asked the question in an interview, “Tell me about yourself.” Or in the formal portion of a networking event when you’re asked to stand up and introduce yourself for a minute or less. Or when you’re chatting with someone and you give them the first sentence or two of your “pitch” and they ask for more details. You want it to sound conversational, and you want to tailor it to your audience – if you’re a techie and you’re talking to other techies, you can use techie terms, whereas non-techies won’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

So what do you say in the elevator speech? Well, here’s the pitch (hey, felt like I was a Red Sox commentator for a minute there.  Anyway).  The pitch is essentially made up of four parts:

  • I am… as in, your name. I’m going to assume you don’t have any trouble with that one.
  • I do…a job title that accurately describes what you want to do; how you want to market your area of expertise. Or if a job title would leave too much room for perplexity, some detail that clarifies what you want to focus on. For example, “I run a pet waste elimination company” kinda says what you do, but it’s not as clear as, “I run a company that scoops your dog’s poop.”
  • I help…a little more detail about how your skills would benefit a company, your clients, and/or the world at large. To add to the example above, “We come to your house and clean your pet’s waste from the yard, and sprinkle fragrant organic herb particles that get rid of the odor, so your yard smells great.”
  • I need…Not as in, “I need a job,” but the idea is to say what you’re looking for, and where: “I’m looking to expand my business to pet-owners in the North Shore area.” Or more specifically for those looking for a job in a company, “I’m looking to use my blah blah skills in a small or medium-sized pet-related business.”

Make sure to put it all in a positive light; don’t just say, “I’m unemployed.” Even in your description of what you have to offer, it’s better to say, “…so your yard smells great….” than, “…so your yard doesn’t smell like shit.”

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