Question: What is an elevator pitch and how do you present one?
Answer: An elevator pitch is a concise, persuasive introduction that describes a job seeker’s authenticity, purpose, and value. The idea is that this “personal sales pitch” could be delivered to a networking contact or prospective employer in the span of a 30–60 second elevator ride.
Job seeker, your task is to develop three short sentences to express who you are, what you do, and what value you bring to a prospective employer.
Click on how to develop a networking pitch to view a short video of Dr. Sean Harry, a career coach, speaking at a Career Enlightenment job search workshop.(Special thanks to Joshua Waldman for allowing us to link to this presentation.) Dr. Henry is teaching sales pitch development methods of an Oregon sales training specialist named Jim Nudleman.
Job seeker, like it or not, you must “sell” your knowledge, skills, and abilities to a future employer to land the job.
Watch the first 4 1/2 minutes of Dr. Sean Harry’s video for the explanation of the 4 steps to developing an elevator pitch. Take notes. Then write your 4-step networking pitch that contains:
1. An Action phrase.
2. A one-sentence statement of who you are and what you do.
3. A personal impact statement describing specific results.
4. A call to action or request for referral to an inside contact
or hiring manager at your target company.
Consider your professional role, the people you help, and your competitive differentiation. To paraphrase the example given by Dr. Sean Harry:
“As a _____ (job title), I help __________ (type of business) to _____ (solve a specific problem). Companies I work for have found _____ (results/impact statement). Who do you know within the _____ industry or at _____ company who could help me in my career objective?”
A more specific example of the call to action line is, “Do you know Chief Technology Officer at ABC Company who is looking for a Software Applications Developer? What you do not want to say is, “Do you know a hiring manager at ABC company that is looking for someone like me? This question is set up to elicit a yes-or-no response.
Ask an open-ended question to elicit a direct response. You want your networking contact to reveal an insider’s name, who works at your target company or in your target industry— ideally, someone in a position of power who could offer you a job. If your networking contact does not know a person with hiring capacity, he or she may know someone who works for a hiring manager at your target company.
Australian author and motivational speaker Sam Cawthorn and American author and life success coach Tony Robbins teach, “Proximity is power.” Even the ruthless TV character Frank Underwood in Netflix’s Emmy-award winning show House of Cards said, “Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value.”
When you gain the positive attention of a gatekeeper or an influencer, you are likely to gain access to the decision maker. Who are the gatekeepers? An executive assistant or someone who reports directly to the executive. Who are the influencers? Human resources manager, recruiters, an employee who works for executive with whom you like to speak. Who are the decision makers? Company owners, executives, and you! That’s right. You decide whether this is the right job opportunity at this point in your life. You have the ultimate decision-making power.
Job seeker, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to connect with 10 people face-to-face in separate networking moments and deliver your elevator pitch in a way that invites further conversation. More than half the battle of networking is getting over the fear of doing it.
Remember, the goal of networking is not only to find a job but also to surround yourself with people who can help you grow both personally and professionally. It’s the concept of seeking wise counsel. Actively listen to the others. Take interest. Respectfully respond.
Build relationships with other job seekers. Set aside personal gain. When someone pitches you, give them courtesy of actively listening. You may know someone who can help that person land his-or-her dream job. In turn, that person may know someone who knows someone in a hiring capacity in your industry who just happens to be a neighbor or family friend.
In the spirit of reciprocity, take time to encourage others in their pursuit of happiness. In doing so, you will find that the right doors will open for you in your career journey.
Sharla Taylor is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), Certified Career Enlightenment LinkedIn Writer (CCELW), experienced job search strategist, and published author. Sharla is the owner of Written by a Pro, a freelance writing and editing service. She approaches her business from a Christian perspective. Her favorite Scripture is Matthew 19:26 "with God all things are possible."
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Austin Farmer, graphic artist, is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design where he majored in Industrial Design and minored in Architecture. Austin creates marketing materials for businesses and uses his artistic and musical talents to enhance the worship service at Savannah Christian Church. His favorite Scripture passage is Isaiah 12:2.