Imagine you’ve walked into a networking event only to meet a potential employer you’ve been dying to snag an interview with. This is your chance. You need to make a good impression, and quickly. But you’re not sure what to say.
Wouldn’t it be great if you already had a short, targeted message ready to grab interest of your potential employer before he walks out the doors, taking your opportunity with him? What you need in these situations is a job search elevator speech, and not just your typical, “My name is Jane, and I’m an XYZ professional, nice to meet you.” So, here are seven tips to create a powerful job search elevator pitch that will hit the mark every time and help you spark the interest of potential employers.
Keep it short and focused. Of course, you should be able to go into a full-blown pitch on all you have to offer. But, this isn’t the time or place for that – yet. Experts suggest keeping your elevator pitch to 10-15 seconds. A sentence or two is perfect. Keep it focused on achieving your desired goal – such as to land an interview.
Brainstorm words and images. Think about what sets you and your skills apart from other people looking for a job in your industry. Then, come up with words and images that illustrate these ideas.
Lead with the benefits. A stranger doesn’t care about you or your need for a job. They don’t care how much experience you have or what your passion is. They care mostly about themselves. If you’re going to interest anyone in yourself and what you provide as a potential employee, you have to tune prospective employers in to what is referred to as WIIFM, or what’s in it for me? So, open your elevator pitch with how your work would benefit a company and its customers or clients.
Be real. Though you’re in the midst of a potential employment opportunity, don’t treat your elevator pitch like a sales transaction. People don’t typically enjoy interacting with pushy salespeople, so avoid acting too aggressive. Instead, focus on building a relationship first.
Tell a compelling story. People love stories and storytellers. They engage us and let us feel free to interact and converse. Telling a story with your elevator pitch is a great way to interest the listener and ensure the conversation moves forward into the details of what you do.
Don’t tell too much. Rather than divulging every aspect of who you are and what you do, create an elevator pitch that compels the listener to ask more about you. The best elevator pitches transition into conversations driven by the listener’s curiosity. This has the dual impact of engaging your new contact and enabling you to go into greater detail on your skills and expertise.
Stay flexible. No matter how much time you spend developing the perfect pitch, you’ll have to adapt it to each person you meet. Also, it’s vital to keep it updated and practice it regularly so it comes off naturally and sincere.
At some point in your job search, you’ll run across people who may benefit from your skills and background. It’s up to you to be able to communicate what that is in a way that catches their interest and leaves a lasting impression, making them curious to learn more about you.