I had rather quick, out of the blue interview this morning for a job. Overall I feel it went pretty well- the job wasn't really a fit for me, but I represented myself fairly well. But I did realize that my elevator pitch was weak- if we had talked 15 minutes instead of 30, or even less, I don't feel he would've gotten a good feel for me.

So my question is- how does one craft an effective elevator pitch, especially for potential employment?

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I had an employment training course that used index cards. They were mini résumés and you could drop them off, add them with an actual résumé and so on. But we were taught to be able to read them and make a presentation to a prospective employer in a half a minute or so. It might be a good idea to do a variation on that, to write down your essential skills and be able to fire them off in a quick time. Plus, there were three more general points tacked on at the end: "I am attentive, honest and thrifty", f'rinstance. Or not. But you could consider modifying the idea for your own needs.
A friend of mine who was looking for a job got 250 free business cards from Vista Print or some other online printer that was essentially a mini-resume.

It's a great idea to have cards or something else (a copy of your resume if asked) to leave with someone after an elevator pitch so they will remember you. But you should definitely get a card from them and follow up with a handwritten thank you note, then add them to your list of networking contacts. Then follow up with them in a few weeks.
State your name, what you do for work, how long you've been doing it, and anything special about what you do or projects you work or have worked on. For example: Hi, I'm Mike. I'm a computer programmer, mostly as a perl web designer. I've been doing it for about a year for a financial services company and I'm currently doing grad work for my masters in IT Management.

That's good if you meet someone on the street. If you're actually in an interview situation and they say "tell me a little about yourself" I expand on it more. I'm pretty fresh out of college so I start off with "I"m originally from Maine, came to the Boston area for college and stuck around..." because that's a large portion of my life. I would then explain how I got into programming, since it wasn't my major in college. I've heard it said that this should be the longest answer in your interview, but still only about 2-3 minutes. It's good to prepare because just about every interviewer asks this, mostly right off the bat, so expect it.

What do you do for work, I may be able to think of something better if I have a specific example. (p.s. nice foxhound logo)
I'm a mechanical engineer, and I was working with Boeing before I got laid off. To sum it up in a sentence or two-
I'm Jeff, and I'm a mechanical engineer. I've spent the last two years doing CAD design for military aircraft, under companies like Boeing.

And yeah, I've got my life story and all down pat. He did ask a few of those sort of questions, and I had my answers ready. I think mostly I was a little thrown by how the interview today went. It was somewhat less formal than a full interview, but more than the breezy "Thanks for your resume" you'd get at a job fair.

And to Bob, that sounds like a good idea, for paring things down to the essentials.

For the PS-Thanks, It's my favorite version of the logo. There's an animated version of it from Metal Gear 2 someplace, but I can't hunt one down.
I can't remember where, or when, I heard this definition, but it fits. An "Elevator pitch" is one that can be written on a business card. Like a good bathing suit, it covers the essentials, while making you want to see more. :-) A good example might be. "I'm Walter Daniels, and I believe that I know how you can save 50% or more on your advertising, or be up to twice as effective for the same money." Granted that may be an extreme example, but you must be both concise, and complete.
The time you spend thinking about your EP, can be repaid by the usefulness of it. Whether you are pitching a business, or yourself, the process is the same. Both are essentially an advertisement. You have to identify the need, and convey an answer to that need. In the case of an employment EP, I would suggest using the "Non traditional resume,: from "What Color is your Parachute?," by Richard N. Bolles. With that, you have already identified your core skills, and condensed them down.
Great question, Jeff! I hope you don't mind me sharing what I have learned and used in the past. I will strive for brevity, but I could really spend a couple of hours on the topic of how to create an effective elevator pitch.

You are probably aware that your elevator pitch should distill the highlights of your resume into about 30 seconds, because when you meet someone, that's all you have to make an impression. Ideally, your pitch should answer the following questions:
Where are you from?
What do you do (state a general job description: "project manager," "accountant," "lawyer," "customer service professional")?
What education, training, skills, or experience do you have and what accomplishments demonstrate that you meet the requirements for the position you seek (keep it brief and relevant to the position you are seeking)?
What specifically are you looking for in a job, and possibly why ("I am looking for a position in home medical supplies sales that takes advantage of my experience and training and passion for helping people.")?
If you aren't already in an interview, always, always, always end with a request like, "Who do you know that may be looking for someone with my skills (or "experience" or whatever you are comfortable with)?"

You need to have a full understanding of how each of these items is a topic of discussion in itself, so you need to be ready to expound on each more fully if asked. You need to always be prepared for an interview, not just when you have one calendared. You never know when someone will take an interest in you based on your pitch and give you the informal interview. So, brainstorm on those questions, create meaningful statements that answer the questions, and put it all together and practice, practice, practice!

If you are creating an elevator pitch for an interview some of the questions are already answered, so create statements that share enough about you to show you are the right person for the job and invite the interviewer to find out more. Again, keep it brief.

Take a look at the tip sheet put out by my church's employment services that gives some other advice that may be helpful to you.
The scripting on that is very similar to that card approach that I described above, trying to remember from 25 years ago. That brochure is very practical.

See what happens when you post something in a public place? People get nosy and have to make comments.
After reading all of this, I realized that I had the wrong idea about elevator pitch. I thought it meant that your voice got higher as you ascended. Actually, never heard of it before. It's fun to learn something new.
I think I see why you're in the "have you heard this one" group...

Also, thanks to everyone so far for the replies, it's good feedback so far!
Hmmm. I think you might be thinking of two different things (or using different terminology). For me, an elevator pitch is a thirty-second blurb about a project to get the other person interested so you can do the summary (the 15 minute version) to further sell them on the project.

Elevator Pitch: "Small Magics is the story of a young man who discovers magic in a world where no one really believes in it except one other man who is willing to kill to possess it all."

(excuse the shameless self-promotion, but it's the one I have to hand).

Now, for a summary relating to a job, one key tactic is to directly relate what things they are looking for with the skills that you have, using the language they use. So when the interview comes, get a copy of the job description and take some time to go through it (even if it means losing sleep the night before). Highlight the skill-sets and experience they are looking for and write a maximum of three sentences on each showing how you have that or similar skill-set/experience. Be sure to use the same descriptors they use. For example, if the term "reconcile" is in their skill-set description, use "reconcile" in your description.

Take the time to review as thoroughly as possible both the job description and your related experiences, so that when the questions come, you can be ready for them.

And when you get asked "if you were a kitchen appliance, what appliance would you be?" the answer is rarely "toaster."

(Yes, someone I know was asked that at an interview. They got the job, too)
Hi Jeff,

I actually just ended a class called "Career Development" and we went over this very topic quite thoroughly. In our textbook it was referred to as your "JIST statement" as the book details a "JIST card" (3x5 or so) with a quick intro on it. And they stressed that we memorize that intro for elevator introductions. Our teacher couldn't stress enough how important it can sometimes be to ride the elevator from top floor down, especially when a big convention is in town, and strike up conversation and use that statement.

In what I learned from the class and can best summarize from the class (on this topic), you want to include your name, job title, and somewhat of a modified objective (like on your resume), the skills you possess (pertinent to your job, and especially the not so everyday ones), and inflect a lot of yourself into it, use your own traits to transition between skills or skillsets. (for example: I am an eager, hard-worker that knows excel)

Now, I'm sure you'd want to tone down the scripted way this can come off, and just memorize it to be ready to throw out such information at any given moment, and whenever possible.

I think the biggest thing we learned on this topic was to make sure that by the end of that elevator ride/conversation, the other person knew our name, what we did, what we could do for them/their company, and had our business card.

I'm sorry for rambling a bit.

Our book was this one:


and it was a very good book, one i'm not reselling back to my school, haha.

It also discusses carrying JIST cards as like a business card, which is a good idea too.

Another thing we learned, and this may be common knowledge, but if you have a cell phone that can send/receive mail, somehow store a copy of your resume on there, as a draft or something. That way when you do your elevator pitch, if that subject comes up, you are ready to email that person your resume right then, rather than at a later time.

I really hope this helps some,



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