Have you ever been in an elevator and had someone say ‘tell me about you’? Me neither. But the fact remains that you need an elevator pitch before you realize it and step into the proverbial elevator. The thing is, when the need arises, it’s too late. You can’t wait till that moment to then start looking up this blog post and ask the person to wait while you think of something articulate and effective to say.
I know this kind of thing pains lots of people. Most just ‘wing it’ and see what words dribble out. Sure, that’s one option. But it’s likely to suck. At best, it’ll be a wishy-washy description of what you currently do. At worst, the person comes across as ‘green’ (HR lingo for new/young/junior/unsophisticated) or says something they don’t really mean. Either way, not good.
Luckily for you, I’ve created a simple way for you to script a totally easy and impactful elevator pitch, even if you’re not a word nerd like me. You’re welcome! ;)
Step 1: Who are you?
Are you a student? A current employee wanting to move your way up?
Step 2: What are you passionate about (at work. Come on people!)?
What are you interested in, work-wise? Do you read about sustainable finance on the weekends? Daydream about content marketing? Talk real estate law non-stop?
Step 3: What are you great at?
What are the things that you excel at, that people praise you for, and that come naturally to you? These are your true natural talents, or strengths. You might take them for granted, but they don’t come so easy to everyone else.
Step 4: What do you want to do next?
What’s the dream job? Not five or ten years ahead, but the next move. Maybe you can’t pinpoint the exact title – that’s okay but be as specific as you’d like. Often people say, “I’m open to anything”. Then when I start challenging that with examples, it turns out they have a good idea of what they don’t want. If you’re unsure, start with what you don’t want and it’ll help you narrow down the goal.
Step 5: Now let’s put it all together.
I am currently <add step one> and I’m especially interested in <add step two>. I’m hoping that with my <add step three>, I can move towards my goal of <add step four>.
So, it might look something like this.
I am currently working in the back office of the bank’s trade department and I’m especially interested in our Latin America business. I’m hoping that with my credit skills and customer service record, I can move towards my goal of becoming a client coverage manager.
Step 6: Read it out loud
Do you cringe when you say it? Go back and edit until you can imagine the words flowing naturally. When you’ve got it down, repeat, repeat, repeat. When those elevator doors open (and they will), you’ll thank me. :) I HAVE seen this happen and work for quite a few people. One was even fortunate enough to have a brand new role created right for her. You can bet her pitch was deliberate and spot on.
Now remember, this is something you can use in all kinds of scenarios. Sometimes the person may not ask you a question so directly, but you can usually work it into a conversation. One great technique to get this info across without looking like you’re trying to self-promote is to say it all, but follow it up right afterwards with a question, like “What’s your take on where that industry’s going?”. People love giving advice and opinions.
So, now it’s your turn. Let’s hear your pitches! Write me a comment below and I’ll gladly help you out if you’re struggling.