Master your Elevator Pitch

Patrick Payne
May 27, 2023
5 min read

Master your Elevator Pitch:

Shark Tank is a popular reality show where founders and entrepreneurs showcase their ideas and companies to investors. On almost every episode, “pitches” are accepted and awarded thousands of dollars and companies are offered opportunities to further their business.

Sometimes though, the best products or ideas are not chosen by the panel. Why? It comes down to the presentation and the founder’s ability to effectively tell their story. Well, a job search is no different than an investor presentation. You need to have a well-crafted pitch to sell yourself in different situations.

An “elevator pitch” is the idea of presenting your story in the span of an elevator ride…typically 30 to 60 seconds. You should be able to clearly articulate who you are, what you do, what you’re looking for, and how you can bring value.

Elevator pitches are useful in a variety of job search related ways:

  • Networking Events: Anytime you are at a conference or industry event, having a dialed pitch can pique someone’s interest and potentially lead to an interview or further conversation.
  • Job Interviews: A common question in an interview (and also a bad one) is “tell me about yourself”. You should be able to rattle off your pitch, giving the interviewer a great summary of who you are and why you are the right person for the role.
  • Social Settings: It’s crazy but sometimes the least obvious time to deliver your pitch is the most opportune. Friends of friends or sitting next to someone on plane…you never know!
  • Online Profiles: Making sure your about section on you LinkedIn profile or Twitter bio matches your pitch and offers a tidbit of your PVP (professional value proposition).

How Long should the pitch be?

It should be short and to the point. Unless you are in a skyscraper, elevator rides aren’t that long, typically 30 to 60 seconds. Use these as a guide:

  1. Who You Are: Pretty obvious, but start with your name and current/recent role. Make sure your title is clear. If you had a weird one, be able to explain it.
  2. What You Do: What did you accomplish and what were some of the skills you brought to the role/industry. 
  3. What You are Looking For: This is often overlooked in pitches. Make sure it’s clear what you are asking for. If you don’t ask for it, you might not get it. 
  4. Value Proposition: The pitch should clearly state why you are the right person for the opportunity. 

There are resources out there!

If you're looking for inspiration or want to see effective elevator pitches in action, here are some places you can explore:

  1. LinkedIn Profiles: Get inspired by colleagues. Check out other LinkedIn summaries and bios and “borrow” formats that you like.
  2. Career Websites and Blogs: Websites like Indeed, ZipRecuiter and Monster often share examples and templates of elevator pitches. A quick online search should give you plenty of resources. 
  3. Artificial Intelligence: Playing around with Bard or ChatGPT is a great place to get ideas. Check out WriterBuddy and it’s “elevator pitch generator”. We recommend, tho, that you don’t take any outputs at face value, and edit and rework till you get one that works. 

Here is a sample provided by ChatGPT. 

“"Hello, my name is Jane Smith. I'm a strategic marketer with over five years of experience specializing in digital marketing and brand management. In my previous role at XYZ Corporation, I led a team that increased web traffic by 40% and boosted social media engagement by 30% within six months. I'm passionate about using data-driven strategies to tell a brand's story and engage with the target audience in meaningful ways. Currently, I'm seeking opportunities where I can utilize my skills in digital strategy and team leadership to drive growth and innovation. What sets me apart is my ability to seamlessly integrate creativity with analytical thinking, ensuring the delivery of effective and measurable marketing strategies."

Remember, the key to a successful elevator pitch is to tailor it to your audience, making it relevant and engaging to the person or company with whom you are speaking.”

  1. PopCandi: Working with a PopCoach on your elevator pitch is a great way to get insider input and perspective. They will help craft a great speech that employers will notice and help your candidacy pop!

An elevator pitch is like a great athlete. Very rarely are they great out the gate, but it takes practice to become awesome. Investing time in perfecting your pitch will help you in your job search strategy and help you in landing your dream job. 

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