Introducing yourself well sets the stage for a professional conversation, whether that’s at a networking event, with a colleague or at the beginning of an interview. One tool many people use to make introductions simple and effective is the elevator pitch. What is an elevator pitch? A personal elevator pitch is a quick summary of yourself. It’s named for the time it takes to ride an elevator from bottom to top of a building (roughly 30 seconds or 75 words). Elevator pitches are sometimes thought to be specific to an idea or a product, but having a pitch to sell yourself as a professional is a common use case for elevator pitches, too. Why are they important? An elevator pitch will be useful to have ready throughout the interview process as it is typically a great icebreaker to start a conversation. From phone screen to in-person interview, you’ll be asked to provide a summary of who you are, your background and what you want from your next job. The elevator pitch can also be a helpful framework as you’re planning your answer to the popular interview question, “Tell me about yourself” , or considering what to include in a cover letter.
Another benefit of a personal elevator pitch is that it prepares you to introduce yourself when exciting opportunities present themselves in everyday life. In line at the grocery store, at a cocktail party or networking event, maybe even in an actual elevator, the pitch can quickly help new contacts understand why they should connect with you or consider you when an opportunity arises. An advantage to using an elevator pitch when speaking about your career or aspirations is that you can take the lead. Instead of waiting on the other party to direct the conversation, you can assertively explain what you have to offer. In many interactions, such as a job interview or mentorship proposition, this can be a relief to your audience—they will be glad to see you know both what you want and how to ask for it.
How to write an elevator pitch Your elevator pitch should answer the following questions: Who are you? What do you do? What do you want? Start by introducing yourself As you approach someone to pitch to, whether that’s at an event, interview or anything in between, start off with an introduction . Give your full name, smile, extend your hand for a handshake and add a pleasantry like, “It’s nice to meet you!”. Provide a summary of what you do This is where you’ll give a brief summary of your background. You should include the most relevant information like your education, work experience and/or any key specialties or strengths. If you’re not sure what to include, try writing everything that comes to mind down on a piece of paper. Once you’ve recorded everything, go through and remove everything that’s not absolutely critical to explaining your background and why you’ve got what your audience may be looking for. Consider the most important highlights on your resume. Once you’ve got it down to just a few points, organize them in a way that makes sense in your story. Here’s an example: “Hi, my name is Sara. It’s so nice to meet you! I’m a PR manager with a special focus in overseeing successful initiative launches from beginning to end. Along with my seven years of professional experience, I recently graduated with my MBA from XYZ University, with a focus on consumer trust and retention…”
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