Job seekers are often told to have an “elevator pitch”, a concise summary of their core skills and accomplishments that they can deliver rapidly to anyone who will listen. But used incorrectly, this little speech can kill your chances for further discussion, let alone finding a job lead. Some tips for creating a pitch that will get you in the door, not kicked out of the building.
- Do not lead with your pitch! This doesn’t work because you know nothing about your listener at this point. Beginning a conversation with a scripted pitch will almost certainly turn-off the listener.
- Lead by listening and learning more about the other person.
- Build rapport and create a relationship before “pitching” yourself.
- As you listen, determine if there are ways your skills or connections can help the other person. What problem does he or she have that need solving?
- If you have skills that may be of value, begin thinking of how to customize your pitch to what you are hearing.
- If the other person’s needs are not a match for your skills, begin thinking of who you know that can help them, or other ways you can be of service.
- Do not pitch yourself randomly, anywhere, anytime, to anyone. Your pitch is meant to be used in a careful and customized manner, in response to the needs of the other person.
- Customize but don’t contrive, exaggerate or overstate. You don’t want to come off like a salesman, sounding insincere or glib. Look for natural, authentic ways to present yourself as a problem solver.
- Make it a two way conversation. As you begin to share how you can help, continue to pause often and listen more.
- Gauge the response of the other person to determine if what you are saying is relevant and resonates.
- If the other person is not engaging and responding, don’t keep on with your pre-planned pitch. Instead pause, ask a question, listen, and seek more knowledge.
Crafting an elevator pitch is a good exercise because it forces a job seeker to concisely state his or her brand and value. Make sure you truly know and can articulate who you are and what you can do. But, when it’s time to share that information, share it as part of relationship building and problem solving.