You Must Have A Compelling Elevator Pitch To Stand Out In A Crowded And Competitive Job Market


If you were impact­ed in the white-col­lar reces­sion and suf­fered a job loss—or are wor­ried about being the next to go—it is mis­sion-crit­i­cal for you to cre­ate an ele­va­tor pitch.

An ele­va­tor pitch is loose­ly defined as a clear, con­cise and per­sua­sive speech that lasts for about the same dura­tion as an ele­va­tor ride. Since there’s not a lot of time, you must be pre­pared to imme­di­ate­ly grab the per­son­’s atten­tion and artic­u­late your val­ue propo­si­tion with­in 30 sec­onds to a minute.

In an inter­view, event, career fair or serendip­i­tous encounter, you want to be con­fi­dent in shar­ing your back­ground, skills, tal­ents, expe­ri­ences, edu­ca­tion and cre­den­tials that make you a per­fect fit for the job. You also want to express why you want this spe­cif­ic role with the com­pa­ny. Sim­i­lar­ly, you will use this pitch when speak­ing to recruiters, human resources and peo­ple with­in your net­work that want to you with the search and need to know more about you.

Updat­ing your résumé and LinkedIn pro­file, find­ing recruiters in your space and net­work­ing is impor­tant, but noth­ing will hap­pen if you can’t clear­ly and con­cise­ly sell your­self in the inter­view.

How To Build An Elevator Pitch

Humans have a short atten­tion span. No one to hear a long, mean­der­ing nar­ra­tive of your school­ing, dat­ing back to high school, and details of your work his­to­ry, start­ing with your paper route. Peo­ple want the cliff notes, a short, tight burst of facts, infor­ma­tion and data that imme­di­ate­ly catch­es their atten­tion and makes them want to know more about you, as you’ve piqued their curios­i­ty.

Start by study­ing the job descrip­tion, look­ing at the peo­ple work­ing in your space at your tar­get com­pa­nies and search­ing online to learn all about the firm, its mis­sion state­ments, prod­ucts and ser­vices. The ratio­nale is that you want a com­fort­able under­stand­ing of the , the types of folks who work at the orga­ni­za­tion and a vibe check on what’s hap­pen­ing at the com­pa­ny.

View your ele­va­tor pitch as a tele­vi­sion adver­tise­ment. The com­pa­ny needs to cap­ture your atten­tion and sell you their prod­uct with­in 30 sec­onds. Sim­i­lar­ly, politi­cians do the same thing with their talk­ing points. They are pre­pared with the answers to com­mon­ly asked ques­tions from reporters. When they go onto the next TV show, the expe­ri­enced politi­cian sticks to the script that works and does­n’t devi­ate from their tar­get­ed mes­sag­ing.

Think of why you’re an excel­lent match for the job. If the job descrip­tion has 10 bul­let points, ensure you can address all the require­ments. Pre­pare answers for each require­ment list­ed in the job adver­tise­ment. The goal is to demon­strate that you have the right back­ground and expe­ri­ence for the job.

The key is to con­tin­u­al­ly role-play the pitch out loud, so it becomes nature after a while. Not only does prac­tice make it per­fect, but it will also calm you down, as you’re con­fi­dent and can’t wait to deliv­er the pitch in real life.

Come to the inter­view, whether online or on-site, with a smile, pos­i­tive atti­tude and con­fi­dent body . State your full name and offer a cou­ple of sen­tences about your job, respon­si­bil­i­ties, why you want the role and the com­pelling rea­sons why you’re the per­fect fit.

What Else You Can Use Your Elevator Pitch For

In addi­tion to inter­views, a ver­sion of your ele­va­tor pitch can be used on your LinkedIn pro­file, résumé and cov­er when apply­ing for an oppor­tu­ni­ty. When hunt­ing for a new job, you nev­er know a great can come from. The pitch comes in handy when you have a spon­ta­neous encounter with a neigh­bor that works at a com­pa­ny you’d love to inter­view with, at a career fair, indus­try-spe­cif­ic con­fer­ence or net­work­ing event.

What Not To Do

Keep in mind that you are sell­ing your­self. I’ve inter­viewed peo­ple who are smart, capa­ble and grad­u­ates of elite uni­ver­si­ties, but are too ner­vous because they did­n’t prac­tice their pitch, feel enti­tled to the job because of their pedi­gree or are uncom­fort­able extolling their virtues.

In the cur­rent com­pet­i­tive job mar­ket, inter­view­ers will meet with many peo­ple, as thou­sands of white-col­lar pro­fes­sion­als were down­sized. You’ll need to stand out and shine above the rest. Over the last 25 years of recruit­ing, more often than not, I’ve patient­ly lis­tened to job seek­ers ram­ble too much, unable to describe what they do suc­cinct­ly and inca­pable of artic­u­lat­ing rea­sons why they are the best fit.

Some can­di­dates don’t do home­work, erro­neous­ly believ­ing that the hir­ing man­ag­er would auto­mat­i­cal­ly want to hire them just because they’ve been in a sim­i­lar role for 10-plus years. When it comes time for the ques­tions-and-answers part of the , it’s painful­ly clear to the human resources per­son that the per­son did­n’t even con­duct a mod­icum of research and demon­strat­ed an uncom­fort­able lack of sub­stan­tive knowl­edge of the com­pa­ny.

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