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What Is An Elevator Pitch And How Do I Write One?

Published: Thursday 23rd April 2015

Man looking at the mirror having a look at himself

How long do you have to make a good first impression at that all important interview, or your first day on a new job. A day, an hour, five minutes? It might seem impossibly small but you have just seven seconds before someone starts forming an opinion of you. In business, first impressions are crucial so you need to be ready and have a well crafted elevator pitch committed to memory. 

“The only people who don’t need an elevator pitch are elevator salesmen” – Jared Kintz

The elevator pitch is a 30 – 60 second speech which tells the story of you. The perfect elevator pitch combines career history, key skills & competencies and future goals into a concise, easily digestible package. 

An elevator pitch is so called as it answers the challenge: “how would you explain your business, what you do, and make a sale if fate placed you in an elevator with your dream prospect and you only had the time it took to get from the top floor to the bottom”. 

Elevator pitches are a great way to introduce yourself at an interview, to new colleagues or when networking. Given just 60 short seconds, could you sell yourself? 

How To Write The Perfect Elevator Pitch

What is your goal? Start by visualising the person you are giving the pitch to and think about what the aim of your conversation is. Are you selling yourself in an interview, at a professional networking event or in the first day of a new job? Each situation may need finesse and a tailored approach. You can also use an elevator pitch to sell your business or a product or service which you or your company provide. In this context we are looking at elevator pitches for job interviews and networking. 

Begin by introducing yourself. Explain who you are and what you do. Give a brief description of your career history. Where you currently work, what you can do and crucially, how you can solve their problems. 

Communicate your USP (unique selling point). This could be a competency, skill or particular experience which you bring. This needs to be a point which distinguishes you from other candidates and offers something they don’t. 

By now you have more than used up your seven seconds and the person you are speaking to is already forming an opinion about you and whether they want to carry on listening. You need to hook the person listening to you by including a statement or question which piques their interest and makes them want to hear more. Something which engages them. Try asking an open ended question which involves them in the pitch. It can’t be a simple yes/no question but one which moves the conversation on. 

Finish your pitch with a call to action for the person you are speaking to. You started talking with a purpose and you need to make sure you end by engaging them in wanting to answer you, and to carry on talking to you, but also let them know why you are speaking to them and why you have taken up some of their time. In a networking context this could be to build a relationship or secure an interview. Within an interview it introduces you and makes them want to carry on talking to you and explore how you can fulfil the role they are interviewing you for. 

Be ready to answer any follow up questions the person you are speaking to may have, as hopefully you have engaged them and have them interested. 

All in all an elevator pitch can be used for interviews and networking, but can also be used for sales or as an introduction in speculative emails or professional social media profiles. 

For more job hunting hints and tips visit the Zoek blog or follow us on Twitter@Zoekappuk


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