‘What can you do for us?’ ‘Sorry, I missed that. What is it that you do, again?’ Those are two phrases that can hit a job seeker right in the pit of the stomach. Don’t take abruptness from a hiring manager personally. They are simply busy people who want to get down to business. Rather than being anxious, get prepared! Craft a compelling elevator pitch to market yourself to a prospective employer in 30 seconds or less.
What is an Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a condensed spoken version of your resume, summarizing your core competencies, marketable skills, and past accomplishments.
It’s a nice-to-have snippet to throw in at the beginning of a job interview or as a response to the following interview questions:
Tell us about yourselfWhy should we hire you
Here’s a brief example of an interview elevator pitch:
“I’ve spent the past five years helping small business owners create and implement successful digital marketing campaigns. I currently lead a team of five content specialists, designers, and marketing analysts at the top boutique agency in the region. Now, I’m ready to take on more challenging accounts, and expand my leadership role.”
How Long Should an Elevator Pitch Be?
The best elevator pitch will last between 20 and 30 seconds. That may not seem like much time, but give it a try. That’s just enough time to pitch yourself to a busy hiring manager or another professional connection. If you go on for longer, you’d either sound too self-absorbed, rambling, or repetitive. Neither of these things makes for a good elevator speech.
How to Write an Elevator Pitch
Think from the perspective of a busy hiring manager or frazzled client. Your pitch should clearly explain how you can solve their problems. If your pitch answers the following questions, you are on the right track:
What do you do right now? Share a quick overview of your skills and core competencies.What can you do for me? Let them know what you have to bring to the table.What do you want from me? Give a brief description of your career goals.
Ditch Humility and Hesitation
Don’t apologize for taking up the other person’s time. You are bringing them something of value. Avoid being self-deprecating. Most importantly, don’t weaken your pitch by using language that undermines you. Get rid of the following words and phrases:
MaybeIf I just had a chanceSort ofIf it would be okayWhatever you would likeMight
Bonus Tip: While you are eliminating anything that makes you seem weak or unsure of yourself, get rid of these annoyingly meaningless ‘buzzwords’ along with any tech jargon:
LeverageWheelhouseDisruptDeep DiveLevel UpOut of The Box
Don’t Forget Your Call to Action
End your speech with a call to action that helps you steer what happens next. In an interview that could mean:
Asking to discuss your qualificationsOffering to give an example of your accomplishmentsInquiring if the interviewer has follow-up questions.
If you’re pitching a potential client, you could use your call to action to:
Offer to send them a link to your portfolioSet up an appointment for a demonstrationSchedule an in-person meeting
Finally, if you are pitching a new contact or peer, use your call to action to suggest connecting on LinkedIn or to ask for future referrals.
Elevator Pitch Examples
Ready to see these best practices in action? Here are some samples that you can use to create your own pitch:
Job Interview Pitch
“I’ve worked as a registered nurse for 10 years. My core experience in the emergency room and trauma units has given me the skills needed to provide the best care in high-pressure situations. Now, I’m ready to take on new challenges in a leadership position at a large medical center. Would you like me to provide some examples of positive outcomes I’ve achieved?”
Freelance Client Pitch
“Small businesses need support from a knowledgeable accounting professional. They also need to remain on top of cash flow management and tax filing. I offer competitively-priced business accounting services along with advice on tax bill optimization. I’d love to forward you more details on what I have to offer.”
“I handle public relations for companies in crisis. Since you are a business strategy consultant, I am sure we have many connections who could use both of our services. Let’s connect on LinkedIn. I’d be happy to send your agency referrals if you could return the favor.”
The ability to sell yourself is essential whether you are trying to land a job or find a new client. Don’t get caught stammering your way through a bumbling answer to the question, ‘what can you do for me?’ Have an elevator pitch at the ready, so that you can talk about yourself with confidence!
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