Imagine hopping into a lift and bumping into one of the most influential business people you know. You realise this elevator ride will only last a short amount of time but might well change your life! If you could only find the right words to say, this person would think you’re amazing and give you precisely what you need to achieve career success. Under all the pressure, your mouth goes dry, and you just stand there grinning and sweating. To help you avoid this exact situation, we explain an elevator pitch and write one.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
A good elevator pitch – in the UK we would probably prefer to call it a lift pitch – is a short and sweet sales pitch that gets your message across in about 30 seconds. Salespeople and marketers often use elevator speeches to spread the word about a product or service. However, they can also come in extremely handy in job interviews or when attending networking events.
Even if you’re pleased with your current job, let’s say you have a fantastic idea you would love to share with the boss. If the company implemented your vision, it would save them time and money and catapult your career to dizzying heights. Everyone’s a winner! However, you know her time is precious, and she might not have time to hear you out.
In any situation, a well-crafted elevator pitch conveys your idea engagingly and memorably. In just 30 seconds, the listener will understand what you’re about and realise they need what you’re selling. What’s more, after you part ways, they will remember you, despite meeting so many other people that day. So how do you do that?
There are many different situations where you can effectively use an elevator pitch to elevate your career. Although the same wouldn’t work in every scenario.
We’re going to show you how to tweak your elevator pitch to three different situations. As we’re all about helping job seekers get to land their perfect jobs, we’re going to focus on how to use an elevator pitch to achieve just that. So without further ado, let’s go!
How to Write an Elevator Pitch
A well-written elevator pitch should achieve the following four things:
- Grab your listener’s attention by identifying a pain point
- Solve a problem for the listener
- Summarise what you do
- Open the door to questions
So let’s dive right in and explain how to apply this to some common career-related situations.
In a Job Interview
In an interview scenario, a good elevator pitch will grab the attention of your potential employer. It will make you stand out above competing candidates and can help you land the job of your dreams.
One of the most common interview questions interview panellists ask first is, “tell us a bit about yourself”. In response, interviewees often launch headlong into a recital of their life story. But that’s not what interviewers want to hear; it’s uninteresting and forgettable.
To make yourself memorable, follow the above four steps to craft an elevator pitch for a job interview. There’s an example below, and then we’ll demonstrate how to adapt it for other situations.
1 – Grab the Interviewers’ Attention
The panel has probably interviewed ten other candidates already that day, so you want to make sure you’re the one they remember. Start by opening with something related to the job you’re applying for. For example:
“I’m Gemma, I’ve been writing content for about five years, and I love it! Here’s a strange fact about content writing; around 90% of content on the web never receives any traffic. Did you know that?”
Boom! The interviewers are now hooked and can’t wait to hear what you say next. Whether they knew that fact or not, it clarifies that you know your stuff and sets the stage accordingly.
2 – Solve The Interviewers Problems
“Very early on in my career, I became obsessed with analytics. By studying other people’s blog posts, I came up with a system that almost always results in my content ranking in the top ten search results.”
3 – Summarise What you do
“I’m currently working on a website for a beauty business where I’ve increased traffic by ten times what it was before I started working there. However, I have written about a variety of subjects in the past with similar success.”
4 – Open the Door to Questions
Of course, this is an interview; there’s no doubt the questions are coming! However, you might go on to say something like:
“I’m excited to be interviewing with you today, and I can’t wait to find out more about your business and how I can help you.”
At a Networking Event
When you attend a networking event, you meet many people in a short space of time. After the event, which ones are you more likely to remember? The ones who love the sound of their own voice, who drone on and on but never seem to get to the point? Or the ones who can tell you what they do in a short snappy sentence? Of course, it’s the latter! That’s why a well-rehearsed elevator pitch is an absolute must-have when you attend your next networking event.
You should also have a business card handy or, better still, invite people to connect with you on LinkedIn. This way, if the people you meet want to continue your discussion later on, they will know how to contact you.
Short and Snappy
Networking event attendees will have much less time to listen to what you have to say. Therefore you need to adapt it to make it much shorter. For example:
“Hi, I’m Gemma. I’m a content writer! Here’s a strange fact about what I do; around 90% of web content never receives any traffic. Did you know that? Early in my career, I became obsessed with analytics and devised a system that almost always gets my content in the top 10 search results. Right now, I work for a beauty business where I’ve increased their traffic tenfold, but in the past, I’ve written about many other topics. What do you do, is there anything I can help you with?”
The above pitch is a condensed version that delivers the same message only much quicker. It also invites listeners to tell you what they do while clarifying that you’re there to do business.
In an Actual Elevator
Or in the queue at the supermarket… While wandering around the garden centre… Or standing in line waiting for chips at a music festival… You never know when you might meet someone who has the potential to change your life. When it happens, you don’t want to turn into a gibbering wreck; make the most of that golden opportunity!
Imagine you’re on holiday in New York. You find yourself admiring the view from the top of the Empire State building, look round and who do you see? None other than SEO expert, Rand Fishkin.
“Hey, you’re Rand Fishkin, aren’t you? I’m Gemma. I’m a content writer, I’m so pleased to meet you! You’ve taught me so much about content writing and SEO. In fact, the thing that stuck with me most is that 90% of web content never receives any traffic. After learning this, I became obsessed with analytics and devised a system that almost always gets my content in the top 10 search results. I currently work for a beauty business, but I’ve written about all sorts of topics in the past. I would love the opportunity to work with you! Is there anything I can help you with?”
This pitch is very similar to the last one in that it’s short and snappy while still getting your point across. It also tells Mr Fishkin that you are open to opportunities and would love to work with him.
Mr Fishkin likely meets people like you all the time. So if he says no, don’t be too disappointed, but you should still ask him if you can connect with him on LinkedIn just in case any future opportunities arise. You never know, being the nice guy he is, he might just look you up!
Tips for Delivering a Slick Elevator Pitch
Practice, practice, practice! In the mirror while you’re putting your makeup on in the morning. In the car while you’re driving to work. You can even practice delivering your pitching to your pet cat, dog or bunny rabbit, they’re awesome listeners.
It’s better to practice saying your pitch aloud. Better still, record it with your mobile phone to see how it sounds. Don’t speak too fast and try to sound natural.
Always close your pitch with a call to action. Don’t just tell people you’re Gemma, a content writer who achieves excellent results. Adjust your call to action to whatever situation you’re in, just like we did in the last two examples above.
A Few Final Thoughts on Elevator Pitches
Whether you’re looking for a job or not. Everyone should have an elevator pitch prepared, just in case they meet that one person who could change their life.
If you are looking for your next opportunity, why not check out our latest jobs page? Either way, if you found this post useful, we’d love it if you could share it on social media!