Getting dressed up to go mingle with professionals and network with them is pretty much a love-it or hate-it scenario. As a socially awkward introvert who spends most of her time indoors with the curtains drawn and perusing the Internet, I personally am on the hate-it end of the spectrum, as I’m sure many others are. However, it doesn’t have to be quite as bad if you have a good elevator pitch.
Basically, as Brian explained an elevator speech, imagine you’re in the elevator of a company you want to work for. You’re on your way to a higher floor to go to an interview or to meet with someone to promote yourself for an open position. On your way up, someone gets into the elevator with you, and they look like they’re high on the totem pole at the company. You start up a conversation with them, and you tell them you’re interested in working for the company and what your skills can do for them. Ideally, the person in the elevator is impressed by your pitch, and is able to put in a good word for you as the company is considering you for the position. Here’s the trick to an elevator pitch though: it can only last the length of time it takes to get from the bottom floor to the other person’s destination.
I was intrigued by the idea of a 30 second pitch after Brian brought it up, and he was able to tell me that as a former human resources professional, elevator pitches can make or break whether a person gets a job opportunity. Here are a few of Brian’s tips on how to make the perfect elevator pitch:
1) A good elevator pitch should consist of 3 main parts: who you are, what you offer, and the benefits of hiring you.
Who you are: Briefly describe yourself. Don’t bore them with what college you went to or what your major was, they don’t care about that. Tell them what you do and be enthusiastic about it, and stick to the essentials.
What you offer: Give a specific example of a problem you solved or a significant contribution you’ve made to your previous employer, and explain to your listener why you’re interested in their company.
The benefits of hiring you: Tell your listener what you can do for them and the rest of the company. What are the advantages of working with you? What makes you different from the next person that walks through the door looking for a job?
2) End with a call to action. Before the interaction, what is it you want to gain from the experience? Be it a business card or a referral, or an appointment to speak with someone further about employment opportunities, make your goal known to the person so they can help you take action.
3) It helps to write it down beforehand. Cut out the jargon and tell them only exactly what they need to know about you.
Networking and putting yourself out there to employers isn’t something many people would have at the top of their “Things I Want To Do Today” list, but if you’re able to come up with the perfect elevator pitch, the first 30 seconds of the conversation are done for you and what follows is a result of that. Come up with your elevator pitch and rise (get it? Elevator jokes) to the occasion. Good luck!