Job seekers should have a concise summary of their core skills and accomplishments that they can deliver to anyone who will listen in a small window of time. This is often referred to as an “elevator pitch.” However, it is often used incorrectly. When not done right, this little speech can kill your chances for further discussion, let alone finding a job lead. Here is a step-by-step guide for creating a pitch and delivering properly:
- 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 person(s) you’re talking to.
- Build rapport and create a relationship before “pitching” yourself.
- As you listen, determine if there are ways your skills or connections can help. What problem does he or she have that need solving?
- If you have skills that may be of value, think how to customize your pitch to what you are hearing.
- If the other person’s needs are not a match for your skills, think 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 thoughtful and customized manner, in response to the needs of the other person.
- 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 learn more.
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 can clearly articulate who you are and what you can do. When it’s time to share that information, share it as part of relationship building and problem solving.