An elevator pitch is considered a quick summary of your experience and background. It is called an elevator pitch for the sole reason that within an elevator ride of 12 floors with the hiring manager you should be able to briefly explain all about yourself and your qualifications. This is equivalent to a 15-30 seconds pitch.
Imagine you are in the elevator, DING the door opens and that sharp looking manager in a suit steps in with you. Turns out, that is the hiring manager of your dream job! Here is where your elevator pitch starts, you are excited, and you have less than a minute to do the impression and take this chance.
Some of you out there are thinking, how is that even possible with our four or five storey buildings?
The situation above is just an example of where elevator pitches happen. However, the elevator is just a metaphor and there are many other situations where you need to be prepared for that pitch, and where you need to grab your chance very quickly. Be prepared to use your elevator pitch in job fairs, networking events or even social events where the potential employers you are trying to impress are attending.
Also, elevator pitches work perfectly in interviews when you are faced with the famous question of “tell me about yourself” and will help you gain confidence when introducing yourself to company representatives.
Don’t ever miss this chance, read below for some tips on the do’s and don’ts to prepare a great elevator pitch.
- Write it down
Put it down on a piece of paper, and find out what is relevant to include and what is not. Write it down and keep editing. Remove unnecessary information and focus on presenting yourself professionally and very efficiently for those who’ve got very little time on their plate.
Your pitch should simply mention who you are, what you do and what you are looking for? A good elevator pitch should answer all of these questions.
- Keep it short
Remember elevator pitches are meant to be short. It isn’t everything about you jam-packed in 30 seconds. Rather, It is one to three sentences about what you want to highlight about yourself and your career ambitions. This means you need to pick and choose the most relevant items you’d like to share.
- Be persuasive
You need to gain listeners attention by your ideas, organization or background. Be confident and assertive in your language and approach.
- Use a professional tone
Elevator pitches give you confidence in presenting your best self to the person in front of you. Your achievements and goals should talk about themselves. Don’t brag or sound over-confident. But avoid hesitating or taking too long to get to the point, as that defeats the purpose of the pitch.
- What’s in it for the listener?
The person listening to your pitch would be thinking “What’s in it for me?” Tailor the pitch to make it sound you would be a huge asset to the organization. Make them think of you as a must-have and that you would bring in something exclusive.
- Don’t limit yourself
There’s no reason to have one standard statement to repeat all the times. Have two or three elevator pitches ready in hand. You will probably be faced with different situations in which you would want to gain the listeners’ attention. Prepare pitches for the different aspects of your career, and choose which is the most relevant to the situation you are in.
- Don’t speak too fast
We understand that you are faced with the dilemma of putting all of your achievements, background and experience in short sentences. However, you should never cram one or two minute’s worth of information into 30 seconds. Speak coherently and in full sentences.
- Don’t be robotic
Being professional doesn’t mean frowning and using monotone. Smile and be sincere. Also practice your pitch and don’t sound like you are trying to remember what you memorized from that piece of paper. “Practice makes perfect”.
- Don’t use industry jargon or acronyms
Not everyone has the same knowledge as you do. You meet the human resources manager of an IT company in a social event; you would want to sound knowledgeable of the industry. However, they might not understand terms that are related to specific programming softwares you are bragging about. Know your audience and avoid excessive jargon.
- Don’t oversell or undersell yourself
Sounding like a pushy sales person in selling yourself will not turn out in your benefit, exactly just as underselling yourself. Don’t underestimate your skills, and don’t assume people will understand you that way you understand your qualifications. Be moderate in your pitch and don’t overdo or repeat words or skills. Also, if the person isn’t really interested don’t push for a longer conversation. Thank them for the opportunity and seek elsewhere.
The good thing about elevator pitches is that they are short and straight to the point. This means, as soon as you master the basics, you should be able to use the elevator pitch in any situation regardless of who is standing in front of you. But remember; tailor your pitch to your audience’s interests.
Elevator pitches are a great way to give the best first impression. You should sound relaxed and confident. Add your personal touch to your pitch and make it a unique one, it will serve you beyond your expectations.
By Haneen Kawar
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