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Writing the Ultimate Elevator Pitch

Posted by Laura Tyson on November 10, 2015

Elevator pitchYou're in a room with someone who could open up a world of new opportunities for your emerging career. It's happened quite by accident -- the two of you started to talk, and you quickly realized that you're in the same field.

You didn't expect to give a pitch, yet here you are, challenged to articulate your interests and the value you bring in a few short sentences. How can you bring your best to the conversation? By crafting and practicing an elevator pitch, you'll feel more confident when the conversation arises.

Know Your Why

Thirty seconds: what can you convey in such a short amount of time? Before you begin to create your pitch, you need to know why you're doing it. Michael Hyatt states that "the practice of goal-setting is not just helpful; it is a prerequisite for happiness." What is your goal for your career? Go big: think about your passion. Why do you love marketing? What's your inspiration and motivation for moving people to try a new product or engage with a brand?

Know Where You're Going and What You Bring

Creating a successful elevator pitch is really about knowing yourself. To craft a pitch, you need to consider where you want to go. Is your goal an apprenticeship in a company? Do you want to land your first small business clients? You may not know exactly where the path will take you, but it's good to have a general direction in mind. As Simon Sinek says in his TED Talk, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe."

Consider how your beliefs generate a direction for your pitch and your career. (Tweet this)

As you create your pitch, you also need to consider what you bring to this journey. What are some of your unique skills, experiences, and connections? What makes your different from the next person? According to Idealist, you must "consider what you do well," but you don't necessarily need to be better than everyone else. Instead, focus on what your unique contribution might be.

For example, as a data analyst you are positioned to move forward with insights that will allow a company to transform their processes and improve their bottom line. Your elevator pitch could look like this:

"I turn data into money. By analyzing the most relevant statistics from your marketing campaigns, I can extract actionable insights to increase revenue. During 2 different internships as a Data Analyst, I identified specific changes directly impacting the bottom line. My name is _________ and I would love to help turn your data into money."

Talk About the Problems

Consider the problems that people in your industry face, and think about how you're uniquely situated to solve one or more of these problems. You must show what the problem is and how you can solve it. Why is this problem urgent, and what will the future look like if you can solve this problem? An elevator pitch for a content marketer could focus on your ability to help customers understand their needs and work to solve them:

"Don't you wish you were surrounded by more problem solvers? That's what I do -- I create problem-solvers. I start by amplifying customers' problems in a way that compels them to find a solution. Then through engaging content I empower them to solve their own problems. For example, I help recent grads discover the talent gap in marketing and show how adopting an apprentice mindset can make them an in-demand marketer. My name is __________ and I'm a Content Marketer amplifying problems and creating problem-solvers."

Get Ugly

Preparing an elevator pitch

When you're writing an elevator pitch, it doesn't need to be beautifully-crafted as soon as it comes out of your brain onto the paper. Here are some tips for getting started.

  • Start with rough notes about what you do, the value you bring, your background, and your desire for growth.
  • Be specific and concise: remember, your final pitch should be no more than 30 seconds long.
  • Think about surprising statistics or statements that you can place at the front of your pitch to catch attention.
  • Brainstorm closing statements that keep the door open to future conversations - you want your pitch to be the beginning of a relationship, not the end of a monologue.

Get your thoughts on paper before you start to perfect them. (Tweet this)

Find Honest Feedback

Solicit feedback from those who are familiar with your industry. They'll know what the most important issues and topics are for people in your field, and they'll be able to tell you if you've hit the mark. Ask them to look at your pitch and the language that you use. According to Speaking Powerpoint, your goal is to use "everyday language," avoiding sales buzzwords. It's also valuable to seek out those who are completely new to your area of work, so you can see where you need to articulate what you do even more clearly.

For example, you may be interested in furthering your career in web design. You might say:

"I create websites that enhance engagement. They're simple and effective, helping your customers understand who you are and how you deliver value. But I go beyond the basics and design interactive websites tailored to your audience."

Your friends and colleagues who are familiar with your industry can tell you if engagement is what people are usually seeking: have you hit the mark?

Practice Your Pitch

Your elevator pitch should not sound like you've written it. Rather, it should flow from you as if you've been saying it all of your life. This is who you are, what you do, and who you aspire to be. Practice makes your pitch flow well. Practice in front of the mirror first, and practice in front of friends to see what flows and what doesn't. Do you have a seasonal gathering with relatives who want to know about your new career path? Try it out in that low-pressure venue. Use every opportunity to share who you are with others, and it will become much easier.

Your elevator pitch is who you are, what you do, and who you aspire to be. (Tweet this)

Move Forward With Confidence

As you get ready to use your elevator pitch in real life, you may feel awkward. Think of your elevator pitch as the ultimate in honest promotion. Everything you're saying is true, and by placing the truth about yourself and your goals into a concise package, you're allowing others to get to know you in a short amount of time.

Don't be afraid to talk about the obstacles you might face in accomplishing your goal and the experience you bring to this role. Nailing the Job Hunt talks about the importance of giving a potential employer "proof of what you've already built, problems you've solved, and projects you've completed that demonstrate your capacity to deliver what you promise." Those you encounter may resonate with what you have to say, and if they do, your pitch is one small stepping stone into a new opportunity for work or collaboration.

Now that you're prepared with a killer elevator pitch, do you need help with other areas of the job hunt? Download the free ebook, Nailing the Job Hunt to help you define your destination and move from crafting a pitch to landing your ideal job!

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Topics: For Recent Grads