Posts Tagged ‘elevator pitch’


The elevator pitch is your little summary, 30–60 seconds, that you spew on people about who you are professionally. Of course, you don’t want to spew it on unsuspecting guests at your cousin’s barbecue when they’re only trying to relax and scarf down a few chicken wings (especially without a mask). Spewing is okay when:

  • you’re asked “So tell me about yourself” at an informational or actual job interview
  • you’re at a formal networking event which requires you to stand up and talk about yourself for one minute
  • you’re having a chat with someone about work stuff, and the conversation goes into detail beyond the initial, “So what do you do?”

That’s it. Any other situation is not okay to spew in. Especially in an actual elevator.

So what does your spew actually consist of? It includes four components:

  • I am – this is just your name. Simple enough. At least, I hope so. If not, you’re really in trouble.
  • I do your job title or “tagline” describing what you do in ten words or less.  For example, if your field is pharmaceutical sales, your tagline could be, “I sell drugs.” Good conversation starter.
  • I help How do your skills help an employer fulfill their wildest fantasies? “I help small companies increase their customer base; I’ve been working in the field for over ten years.” That’s the idea, though you don’t have to actually use the word “help.” Really, it’s okay.
  • I need Of course, you would never actually say, “I need …” The idea is to convey what you’re looking for, while tooting your own horn. “I’m looking for an opportunity to use my blah–blah skills in a big drug company, so I can get all the drugs I want.” Just kidding on that last part.

So write and practice your spew so that it doesn’t sound like you’ve written and practiced it, and only spew when asked. And if you’re spewing indoors, wear a mask.

Happy schmoozing.

straitjacket guyA comedic look at job search and success – “What Color is Your Parachute” meets “This Is Spinal Tap,” if you will. This combination of comedy and advice gives helpful tips to anyone who is searching for a job, or hoping to hold on to the one they have. Topics include contemplating your navel to find your life’s work, idiot-proofing your job search, online disasters, strategic schmoozing, resume do’s and don’ts, interviewing horrors and how to handle them, how to hold on to your job, reflections on bizarre jobs, and weird work stories.

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.”