How’s your elevator speech?

Not sure how your elevator speech is—or even what an elevator speech is?

Now’s the time to dust off, create, or brush up your 30-second career pitch. That’s your elevator speech: a quick and unique introduction to who you are, what you do best, and why someone should hire you.

Why have an elevator speech?

You don’t need to spend much time in elevators to benefit from having a clear, concise description of your career strengths and goals. When you’re able to convey three points succinctly—who you are, what you do best, and how a future employer will benefit from that—you’ll find endless opportunities to put your elevator speech to use. You can use it at:

  • Job fairs
  • Networking events
  • Calling prospective employers
  • Job interviews (what a great way to begin your answer to “Tell me about yourself.”)
  • And last but not least, the moment you do find yourself in an elevator with a higher-up at your own company or one you want to move to.

elevator speech

How to craft the perfect elevator speech

Elevator speeches are simple. Deceptively simple. When you have 30 seconds to get it right, you can’t afford a misstep. Follow these steps to draft your unique career pitch—one that will leave your listeners wanting to know more about you, including how they can help in your search.

STEP 1: Say who you are and what you do in one sentence. Then take what you do and re-describe it in terms of how it helps a boss, client, employer, or other stakeholder.

  • Example: “I’m Jane Doe and I’m a human resources manager.”  Becomes: “I’m Jane Doe and I help my company streamline their hiring process and increase retention.”
  • Example: “I’m John Doe and I’m a server at a large chain restaurant.” Becomes: “I’m John Doe and I convince customers to return again and again to The Burger Joint—because I make them feel great about their experience.”

STEP 2: Add a sentence highlighting a unique skill, honor, or experience you bring to the table.

  • Example: “I’m Jane Doe and I help my company streamline the hiring process and increase retention. Last year I implemented a new software system that shaved weeks off of average hiring time—and led to even higher retention. ”
  • Example: “I’m John Doe and I convince customers to return again and again to The Burger Joint—because I make them feel great about their experience. For three years straight, I’ve received more positive reviews than anyone else on staff.’

STEP 3: Add a follow-up. End your pitch with a specific question. Depending on the situation, this could be:

  • “Could we set up a time to talk about how my skills could benefit your company?”
  • “Do you have any advice for me?”
  • “Do you know anything about this company?”
  • “Do you know anyone who does know about ______________?”
  • “Can I use your name to contact them?”

STEP 4: Test-drive your pitch. Try it out in front of the mirror, and then in front of a few friends. Make changes until you have a solid pitch that feels right to you and your test audience.

Find more tips about how to boost your job search with a great elevator speech, and other networking tips at Form a Network from CareerOneStop.

Have any other tips for crafting or delivering a great job search elevator pitch? Leave us a comment below!

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