The elevator pitch. You probably know the term. It is most often used to describe the concise 60-second speech that business owners and managers, as well as salespeople, use to describe their business, product or service to others. Most importantly, it is a convincingly delivered speech that describes what is unique about the business (or offering), outlines the benefits to the target market, and engages the interest of the business. ‘listener.
So why should you, the job seeker and the career professional, care about the elevator pitch? If you are familiar with the concept of personal branding and the idea of ââleveraging your brand to advance and promote yourself in your career, I’m sure you immediately recognized some similarities between the above description of an elevator pitch. and a personal brand statement.
Personal branding allows you to make a name for yourself. It sets you apart from your peers and helps position you as a leader in your field – as a specialist and authority who knows how to do a job and fill a particular niche in the workplace better than anyone. A personal brand statement is a succinct statement that clarifies and communicates what makes you and your value proposition unique, different, and special.
Your personal branding statement will play an important role in your 60-second pitch as a job seeker and career professional. Your complete argument will be a mini presentation that you can do on the fly in response to these all too common questions “what are you doing?” Or “tell me about yourself?” With precision focus, an effective elevator pitch will immediately convey to the listener who you are as a professional, and will do so in a way that not only meets your unique value proposition, but in a way that addresses your listener’s concerns. Equally important, while your pitch is planned and rehearsed, when you actually deliver it, it should sound completely natural and spontaneous, but it should leave the listener with a lasting, positive and memorable impression. You will use your elevator pitch frequently, in networking situations and in interviews.
But, once you recognize the importance of crafting an elevator pitch, you might feel intimidated about creating and perfecting it. This is certainly a task that your career coach or the professional you have hired to create your CV can help you. However, with a little soul-searching and honest self-assessment, developing your pitch doesn’t have to be difficult. To get started, ask yourself these essential questions:
1. What is the subject of your research? What is your job target?
2. Who (s) are most likely to make a hiring decision about you?
3. What are the problems faced by your target audience?
4. What do you offer that would solve these problems?
5. What sets you apart and makes you different from your peers?
6. What are the benefits of your work as seen by your target audience?
To create your elevator pitch, you now need to put all of these elements together in a short presentation that you can deliver quickly, in the time it would take to get from floor to floor in an elevator.
As an example, here is my own âbrandâ pitch that I developed to concisely describe my work as Executive Director of Distinctive Career Services.
âYou know how some career guidance professionals miss out on great job opportunities, or don’t advance as quickly in their careers as they would like, or don’t get the pay they deserve, all because they don’t really know how to differentiate themselves in their career or to promote themselves effectively in the job market?
Well, I’m a career coach, personal brand strategist, and career marketing professional, one of the few people in the world with this unique blend of expertise. In my business, which is internet-based and global, I offer a mix of innovative products, programs and services delivered to aspiring six-figure + and six-figure + professionals, managers and executives. All of my offerings are designed specifically to enable my clients to promote and market themselves effectively, opening doors and enabling the potential to reach their highest ambitions and career goals.
The benefits are that my clients dramatically reduce the time and money they spend on job hunting, advance their careers quickly, increase their income, gain more professional recognition, and overall establish themselves in more rewarding careers professionally, financially and personally.
Once you have the answers to the six simple questions above, you have everything you need to create a similar pitch on your own. Do you see how I took my own answers to the questions and scattered them throughout my pitch? I have clearly communicated who my target market is, I have identified the issues and challenges they face, I have explained how my offering is not only unique but resolves these problems, and I have described the main advantages that my offers are producing.
You can use this same template to develop your own elevator pitch. But remember; don’t go into too much detail. Your goal is simply to generate interest and make yourself memorable. Don’t spend too much time on the details of your qualifications. Just highlight them quickly and relate them to how they benefit your target audience (current or future employer).
Once you’ve perfected your pitch, practice it, practice it, and practice it again. Your goal is to make it sound completely natural. Rehearse in front of a mirror and be aware of your body language and eye contact, as these aspects of communication often speak even louder than words. Now try your pitch a few times and watch the listener’s response. Be open to the prospect of adapting and modifying as necessary to elicit the response you want to generate. And, of course, be flexible. If your listener interrupts you with a question, be prepared to pause and answer it.
Creating your elevator pitch can take time and thought, but a wise professional invests in it! You will hear the “what are you doing?” Or “tell me about yourself?” questions over and over, both during your job search and throughout your career. Don’t wing it! Preparation is the key to confidence and the key to making a lasting, positive and memorable first impression. The benefits to your career will be phenomenal. Well worth the effort!