Finding a job is a bit like a sales process. You are the candidate but you’re also the product – with features, benefits and great potential! So it’s important to position yourself well. Having an ‘elevator pitch’ about yourself as a job candidate can be hugely helpful. It lets you sum up your value and expertise in a compelling way – and then deliver it quickly and succinctly.
The idea of an elevator pitch is said to come from the old Hollywood studio days, when a screenwriter would catch an unsuspecting executive on an elevator ride and quickly pitch their idea. But have you ever thought about having your very own career elevator pitch?
Having a great pitch is important for a number of reasons. Imagine finding yourself in an elevator (or a coffee queue) with the hiring manager of the job you’ve always dreamed of. What would you say? It’s also a good way to start the conversation in a face-to-face interview or during a phone screen. Being able to clearly and succinctly articulate who you are, what you’ll bring and what you want from your next job is an essential job-search skill.
Creating your pitch
Below are some steps to follow that will help you develop a concise pitch that’s focused on your background and immediate goals, but also shows value in what you offer. Writing down your elevator pitch helps you get it right. Reading it out loud helps you refine it and ensure it rolls off the tongue.
- Who are you? Start by introducing yourself with your full name and a pleasantry such as, “Thanks for seeing me” or “It’s great to meet you!”
- What do you do? Provide a brief summary of what you do and where you’ve come from. You should include the most relevant information to the role you’re pitching for. That might include qualifications, work experience, personal attributes, and/or other specialties. If you’re not sure what to include at this point, just write everything down that comes to mind and refine it later.
- What do you want? Explain what you’re looking for. You might ask for the job, request some advice about a role or organise a meeting to discuss next steps. The ask should include why you’d be a good fit. You want to get your message across about what you’re looking for, but you also want to convey what’s in it for them (the recruiter).
- Now read back over what you’ve written and trim it down to 75–100 words. Delete any words that feel clunky or distract from your main point. Make it relevant, concise and easy to understand with no industry jargon.
Delivering your pitch
- Talk with confidence and make it conversational. Don’t speak too fast and try not to sound rehearsed.
- By memorising a general outline or key points, you’ll be able to modify your pitch to suit the situation. When you’re going for a job interview, review the job ad or role description and make sure you know your pitch in relation to that role.
- If you’re approaching someone outside of an interview, there’s a chance they won’t be open to your pitch. If that’s the case, stop and ask if you can call or email them instead.
Examples of an elevator pitch
In a job interview, my pitch might look something like this (after the introductions): “Thanks so much for seeing me today – I was thrilled to get the call. I’ve been with Katie Roberts Career Consulting for more than 10 years, during which time I’ve helped more than 1,500 people search for a new role. My background is in marketing communications and I’ve also worked on the Katie Roberts blog and newsletter for almost six years now. When I saw this role combining marketing and career consultancy, I was very excited. I’d love the opportunity to leverage my marketing skills and career market understanding to develop your new website further.”
If I bumped into someone whose company I’d like to work for, it might look more like this: “Hi, my name is Belinda. It’s great to meet you! I’ve been following you on Instagram for some time now. I’m a career consultant with 10 years’ experience helping people develop their LinkedIn profiles and prepare complex job applications. I’ve also worked on a leading career advice blog for almost six years, and held a number of senior marketing communications roles before that. I’ve seen your website and love the fresh, innovative concepts. I think my background could work really well for you. Would you mind if I called you next week to talk about how I might be able to help you?”
Great job seekers know their career elevator pitch and how to customise it depending on who they’re talking to. Spend some time getting yours right and you’ll boost your job-search efforts and strengthen your personal brand.
If you’d like some help preparing for a job interview, so you can build your confidence and increase your success rate, take a look at our Interview Training and Coaching Services.