Few people love developing an "elevator pitch" even though they may recognize their need for one and the importance of having a well-crafted one. I volunteer for a group of job seekers who meet every week, and no one enjoys the process of introducing themselves to a roomful of strangers. In fact, I know that some people try to sneak in after they think the introductions will be over, or they skip the meeting altogether rather than struggle through a 30-second self-introduction to a room full of self-appointed critics. Related: How To Perfect Your Elevator Pitch The urban myth about how the elevator pitch first originated is that in the early studio days, a Hollywood screenwriter would catch an unsuspecting studio executive in the elevator. Trapped, with nowhere else to go, the screenwriter had between 30 to 118 seconds to "pitch" his idea to the studio's top decision-maker. Today, you aren’t pitching an idea for a screenplay. For you, the stakes involve your next great break in your career. If you are on the job market, you need to develop a "pitch-perfect elevator pitch." Your pitch must be compelling to the point of making you seem different from everyone else. Additionally, it must be delivered with earnest sincerity and not sound like it has been rehearsed in front of your mirror a thousand times—even though it may have (and should have) been rehearsed in front of you a thousand times or more. My elevator pitch has changed and evolved hundreds of times (literally) in the last three years since I began my odyssey as a career transition and job search coach. As a result, I am particularly sensitive to the challenges that new job seekers experience when trying to craft their pitch. Don't beat up on yourself if you find this particular task daunting. Everyone does. That does not take you off the hook, however. You must come up with a clear, concise, compelling and persuasive elevator pitch or networking introduction if you need to traverse the job search terrain. Here are some suggestions that will help you craft your own unique and compelling pitch.
An elevator pitch is an abbreviated introduction that tells someone about you in the amount of time it takes to ride up a few floors in an elevator with them. Related: 4 Steps For Developing A Winning Elevator Pitch What you say varies a bit depending upon the context, but in general, it should cover who you are and enough about your career or career goal so the person you are talking to knows how to help you, if they feel inclined, or engage with you in some way that might forward your career. So, let’s say you are a Production Assistant dropping someone off at Creative Artists Agency for your boss. You get in the elevator and a guy in an expensive suit is in there already. He says, “Hi, I’m Bob.” You say, “Hi, Bob. I’m Chris.” “So, what’s your story, Chris?” In his expensive suit and riding the elevator at CAA, Bob is probably an agent, studio executive, or lawyer. You say, “I just graduated from BU. I won a couple of directing awards and I’m working as a PA while I try to break into TV directing.” You’ve just given Bob everything he needs to know to progress the relationship forward. He knows you are a recent grad, a PA, a budding director with enough talent to win an award. As the elevator doors open, Bob hands you his card and says, “Call my assistant Jeff and tell him I said to get in touch.” This could be for another PA job or it could be that Jeff is about to become a Junior Agent in the lit department and needs director clients. It doesn’t matter. The point is, you made contact and now you have Bob’s card. What would you have said in that elevator? Would you have gotten Bob’s card? This post was originally published at an earlier date.
An elevator pitch is essentially used to help you gain the interest of people to talk to you when there is only a window of 20 seconds or less to speak – the amount of time you may be in the elevator with the CEO of the company you’re dying to work for or in another similar scenario. Related: 3 Tips For Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch The mission is to get the contact to responds with “Why don’t you send me your resume?” or something similar like, “Let’s schedule a time to further discuss.” So, you’re probably wondering, “What makes a good elevator pitch and how can I compose one?” First off, remember that your mission is simply to get the conversation started. You want to keep it conversational as you point out what value you offer that’s a competitive advantage over other potential candidates and how it may prove to be beneficial experience in helping to solve a problem for the employer.
Have you ever thought about what you might say if the CEO of your dream company stepped onto an elevator and struck up a conversation with you? Related: 10 Tips For A Powerful Elevator Speech That’s the idea behind having an elevator pitch. Of course, the chances of you meeting your future boss or an important client in an elevator are slim, but having your elevator pitch prepared can come in handy at any time, whether you’re sending a cover letter, talking to someone on the phone or answering the “tell us about yourself” question in a job interview. It should be a short, concise statement that tells the listener who you are, what you do, and most importantly, why they should care – all in no more than 30-60 seconds. Now, this might sound easy enough, but as anyone who has ever sent out a tweet will know, getting the right information across in a short amount of time or with limited space, can be pretty tricky.
An elevator speech (ES) is becoming an important item in the toolkit of most people. It doesn’t matter if you are a job seeker, business person, or gainfully employed professional, you need a powerful elevator speech (ES) to extend and support your personal brand. Related: 4 Steps For Developing A Winning Elevator Pitch What you say and how you say it are equal parts to delivering an ES that will either cause people to take notice of you or go to sleep.