Going up? The 30-second Elevator Pitch

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Dave the job seeker assured me he had prepared this elevator pitch.

“Okay!” I said, “Hit me with it”.

He began.

“I was born in 1969 in Melbourne Australia” he started. I went to school at Box Hill South Primary School until I was 12 or so, and then I became a student at Box Hill High School.”

His story continued…

….“So my first job was at fifteen where I joined as a rookie journalist and then I….”

and so it went. On and on and on.

15 minutes later he drew to a close and looked at me proudly.

“That’s it?” I smiled.

“Well”, he admitted “I’ve cut it down a bit for you because you know me”.

If this was an elevator pitch it would have to be one very slow elevator or the world’s tallest building!

As a person on the job hunt, you’ve probably come across the phrase “Elevator Pitch” and wondered what it means and whether you should have one. Briefly, an elevator pitch is a short, yet compelling statement of introduction that you can communicate in the time it takes for an elevator to get to the floor of choice. (And yes, you should have one).

Very few people may find themselves in the happy position of sharing a short journey with a top-level decision maker, but most of you will have an interview at some time in your career. It will be important to know what to say and how to break the ice, especially when you’re asked the time-honoured question, “Tell me about yourself.”

WRONG: I am a General Manager. I am 51 years old, my wife’s name is Margaret and we have three children, Samuyl who is 16, Mmarkk who is 14 and my “baby” Moon Unit who is 10. I have an MBA from Melbourne University. Um I really enjoy the football and I keep fit by playing cricket. I have been with my current accounting firm Messrs Find-it and Bill for five years, and before that, I was in the retail industry as the General Manager of Dresses ‘R Us.

The statement above is timed at 30 seconds. What have you learned about the candidate that is concrete and advances his candidacy?

CORRECT: I help businesses create prosperity by identifying lucrative growth opportunities. Most recently as General Manager for a large-accounting firm, I executed five acquisitions that delivered more than 7 million dollars in yearly revenues while retaining 98% of the customer base. Prior to that, I led an unprecedented change management program that re-positioned a national retailer as a leader and innovator. Would you agree that my experience is a match?

The statement above is professional, it’s concise and it’s interesting. It is, 26 seconds of wow.

Start working on your elevator pitch now. What makes you unique? What short snapshot of your experience can you provide that meets the needs of the job for which you are applying? It takes some time to work on this, so you’ll need to really commit to it, write it, rewrite it, edit and rehearse it. Make it sound conversational, deliver it in a well-modulated and interesting tone, and seek to engage your interviewer by outlining the key points of your candidacy.

Eye glazing or compelling and fact-filled?

It’s your choice.

25 Comments

  1. Kathy Bitschenauer

    Great post, Gayle! I love the way you included a question at the end of the “right” introduction. I calls for a response from the listener that ENGAGES him/her, rather than just leaving it as a statement of one’s accomplishments–a one-sided approach. i”ll put this tip in my coaching toolbox!

    Cheers,

    ~Kathy

    Reply
  2. Kathy Bitschenauer

    Great post, Gayle! I love the way you included a question at the end of the “right” introduction. I calls for a response from the listener that ENGAGES him/her, rather than just leaving it as a statement of one’s accomplishments–a one-sided approach. i”ll put this tip in my coaching toolbox!

    Cheers,

    ~Kathy

    Reply

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About Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.