Your team has finally developed an app strictly based on client requirements. As the final delivery deadline approaches, you start toying with an idea - a small change that would revolutionize the entire project management system! But your manager is the busiest man on this blue orb. He won’t listen for half an hour. “I’ll give you the next 60 seconds” is all he offers.
How do you make such a busy man listen to your groundbreaking thoughts on the project?
A man in despair would grab every chance to have a chat with the leader, even in the elevator.
Initially, that right there was the idea behind crafting an elevator pitch.
Since then, it has grown to become one of the most crucial means of communication in contemporary lives.
So, are you ready to “pitch perfect?”
Let’s not beat around the bush any further then.
In its most straightforward meaning, an elevator pitch is a short introductory speech you present during a job interview, a career fair, sales pitch, online profiles, etc. Its primary purpose is to convince the listener to have another conversation with you to crack the deal.
Consider an elevator pitch as your 140-word tweet, based on which the listener will evaluate whether to further have a chat with you. It is usually the first thing that an HR or hiring manager will ask you during a job interview.
Thus, it needs to be a thorough, yet concise analysis of you, your academics and career so far, your accomplishments and contributions to the field, and what makes your skillset the perfect fit for the organization.
An elevator pitch can be one of the best icebreakers you could ask for and sits perfectly at the top of your cover letter. While developing an elevator pitch, since you also control the narrative, you can emphatically present what you have to offer as an individual to the organization, and what roles or opportunities you expect from your next employer.
In the current scenario of virtual interactions, an elevator pitch can also be a curated answer to the dreaded “tell me about yourself.”
For such a simple problem, finding the perfect blend of adjectives to throw in a few short breaths can become too anxious a task.
While you talk about your qualifications and aspirations during an interview, your employer will be assessing you and determine if you are, in fact, a qualified addition to an esteemed organization’s umbrella.
Thus, it becomes imperative that you find the perfect words representing you as an individual and leave the best impression in the minds of the hiring manager. Pay immaculate attention while writing an elevator pitch, similar to how attentively you would write and debug codes for a program.
Developing an elevator pitch and keeping it ready at all times, means that you never run out of ideas on what to speak about when the next opportunity presents itself. At conferences, networking meets, or even in an elevator, a solid pitch enlightens your new contacts about your skills and vision for success.
You may very well end up being the first consideration that pops up in their mind if you leave a lasting impression. An unblemished elevator speech should keep the listener desiring for more, which increases the chances of a hiring manager calling you back for a second chat.
“Hey, can you tell me more about your idea at our headquarters tomorrow, say, at 11?”
Wouldn’t you just love to hear that?
Crafting an elevator pitch is probably the best career advice you will ever get!
An elevator pitch can be used for virtually anything, from landing a new client or investor to getting your desired job or promotion. It can be used as your TL;DR to introduce yourself at a career fair or a virtual job expo, online profiles, and professional association programs.
The internet is already filled to the brim with interview preparation webinars and mock classes repeating the same cliché suggestions, i.e. keep it short and simple, take your time, state the facts, etc.
While these tips for an elevator pitch are definitely essential, they do not scream unique at all.
So, do you know how to write an introductory speech that will have no match in the market?
“Customers buy for their reasons, not yours.” – Orvel Ray Wilson
Had it been an informal setting, your introductory speech would have contained personal details such as your favorite color, and if you are a dog or cat person and the likes. In an interview, you need to modify the approach and write an elevator pitch that caters to the requirements of the organization and present yourself as the best fit for the role.
“When you are a weird geek, the way to sell yourself is to show your skills.” – Temple Grandin
Imagine you drop off your CV from the 20th floor of a building and are on your way out. DING! The elevator opens on the 17th floor and inside is Jennifer, the hiring manager of the organization that you applied for just this morning.
Since both of you are on the way out, how will you create a long-lasting impression, such that Jennifer does not forget your face?
While she will most likely not remember your face, an effective way would be to share your name and flaunt your skillset. If Jennifer recognizes the keywords that she is looking for in an interviewee, it is highly likely that she will search and take a look at your profile later.
“It is the size of one’s willpower which determines success.” Unknown
Eyeing a managerial role at a company with the vision to lead a team of dedicated expert engineers to great heights?
While crafting an elevator pitch, mention your goals and aspirations outright, and make sure that you don’t settle for a role below the progression you demand.
“Persuasion is not a science but an art.” – William Bernbach
To make a potential employer believe in your skills, you need to have confidence in yourself. The way you speak and what you vocalize should be a display of your poise so that the manager believes that you are up for the throne you demand.
“Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods.” - Unknown
It is highly likely that the new job role will come with added responsibilities, some of which you were probably not expecting when you applied. In addition to exhibiting your technical skills and non-essential abilities, you need to show a positive attitude in accepting new duties.
When creating an elevator pitch, show that you are quick to adapt and learn new techniques, and grow as an employee to take on more challenging roles.
Remember, your employers don’t want a hard-working shell. They want a vision for success and an insatiable hunger for business expansion in you.
Here are some things you should RELIGIOUSLY AVOID while crafting an elevator pitch!
It is true that you only have a few seconds to present the best version of yourself in front of the employer. However, refrain from speaking too fast while trying to cram a debate session into your introductory speech. Otherwise, you may end up saying something that you hadn’t originally intended.
A slow yet detailed introduction sounds way more convincing than rambling on and on about a story that has no connection to your skills or what you bring to the table.
Avoid rambling about a childhood vacation that you took one time, or one herculean task you performed at your previous job.
Instead, maintain composure and show versatility in your skills. Remember Jennifer we talked about? She’ll will be captivated by the aura of confidence you emanate.
Avoid speaking robotically with a monotonous tone and a frown on your face. Instead, show enthusiasm about the conversation and be approachable for a further sit-down. Refrain from using too many technical terms; you don’t want to give the impression of a walking Wikipedia.
Tips to seem enthusiastic during an interview
- Probe and interact with your interviewer
- Be active
- Compliment the company’s latest achievement
- Be ready to respond
Tying into the concept of gauging target audience, prepare more than one elevator pitch. Depending on the situation and organization that you apply, vary the content in each introduction speech, highlighting different skills and career highlights befitting the situation. But remember, whatever you say must be authentic.
It doesn’t matter if you have an excellent introductory speech if you do not say anything at all. Now that you know the Do’s and Don’ts of crafting an elevator pitch, let’s take a look at how to make an introductory elevator pitch with some examples.
Remember Jennifer on the 17th floor? You left a killer impression on her and showed that you perfectly fit the role that the organization is looking for in an individual. She goes back to her desk, only to remember that you never introduced yourself with your name.
Your introduction should ideally contain your name and a brief pleasantry if the situation calls for it. Sometimes, that’s all you need to begin a conversation.
“Hi! I’m Roger. Nice to meet you.”
Next, move on to a super crisp summary of your current responsibilities and add relevant information such as your background, key strengths, and work experience. Sell your skills rather than focusing on your educational laurels (those are best reserved for the CV).
“Hi! I’m Roger. Nice to meet you. I currently build <thing/app/interface> for <the company/industry you are in> to <effect/benefits of what you do>. Along with that, <add relevant experience or education>.”
Mention out-and-out the opportunities that you are looking for in your next job. This is an excellent opportunity to display your virtues, and why you would fit perfectly in the company. You can ask for a job opportunity, an internship if you are a student, or simply contact details as well.
“Hi! I’m Roger. Nice to meet you. I currently build <thing/app/interface> for <the company/industry you are in> to <effect/benefits of what you do>. Along with that, <add relevant experience>. I think that your company produces some amazing <products> that help people in <industry relevance>, and I’d love an opportunity to implement my expertise in your company.”
Finally, end the pitch by stating what you want out of the conversation. If you are looking for a job, ask for an interview opportunity. If you are an intern, ask about the internship opportunities and how to secure a position.
“Hi! I’m Roger. Nice to meet you. I currently build <thing/app/interface> for <the company/industry you are in> to <effect/benefits of what you do>. Along with that, <add relevant experience>. I think that your company produces some amazing <products> that helps people in <industry relevance>, and I’d love an opportunity to implement my expertise in your company. Can you review my resume and set up a call to discuss upcoming opportunities in your company?”
Attention! There is no hardbound rule that says you need to stick to the order presented above. Be creative. Maybe give your name with the CTA at last or skip the summary and tell a hooking story about some great use of the codes that you developed.
There exists no magic formula for crafting an elevator pitch, or an omnipotent template that you can use in every situation. That being said, an impactful elevator pitch should answer three basic questions about you as a professional.
Question 1: Who you are or what industry are you in?
Question 2: How do customers benefit from you or how can your skills be best utilized in the organization?
Question 3: What sets you apart from the competition?
After you have given intensive time and thought to what you want to include in your sales pitch, here are some pointers that will help you rewrite your thoughts into the perfect introductory speech!
Let’s go back to your meeting with Jennifer. It is highly likely that she has already seen a ton of job applications for various posts throughout the day, with a stockpile more still waiting on her desk. How do you grab her attention so that she selects you over some other names?
‘Choose your words carefully.’
While you cannot tell a compelling story in your intro, a confident start, a firm handshake, or an interesting question should also do the trick. This also neatly ties into the second point, which is…
Intrigue is the way salespersons captivate prospective buyers.
Your CV already contains your academic achievements and work experience (if you are looking for a promotion), so there is no point in repeating them while writing an elevator pitch.
Instead of the features, focus on the benefits. Use the art of storytelling to make sure that your listener gets interested in you.
In addition to the technical know-how, a summary of your education background and job description should also be part of your coding interview preparation.
Your current responsibilities define your stature in the corporate world. The best way to convey your capabilities is by expressing how well execute your present roles. Expressing your obligations also paves the way to mention the responsibilities you expect at your job, thereby asserting your future goals.
If you have successfully grabbed the attention of the listener and stated your responsibilities and ambitions, you’re halfway there. Be prepared for any follow-up question based on what you say and keep intriguing answers ready for those as well.
The follow-up questions are more likely to be job-oriented if you exhibit competence in your introduction. If you are unsure about what problems may be thrown your way, make sure that you have the basics covered and then look online for technical interview preparation tips and tricks.
On the off chance that you deliver an elevator pitch in an informal setting, make sure that you end your speech with a mention of your contact details. For a commercial location or if you are a business owner, keep a business card ready.
A business card is often the first impression of you or your company, and having a business card ready asserts your professionalism and shows your preparedness for the interview/meeting.
Example 1: Front end software developer
“Hello! I’m Mary, and I am a front-end developer at XYZ working extensively on mobile applications. After majoring in computer science, I worked for a small start-up as a software developer and soon found myself specializing in front-end software development. I am willing to expand my horizons to projects looking for software support and consultancy, especially security firms.”
Example 2: Java Developer
“Hi! I’m a Senior Java Developer with ten years of experience working in mobile banking infrastructure, which everyone has come to know and utilize, especially in online trading. I recently wrapped up my contract at XYZ, and I was overly excited when I learned about this opportunity opening at your company. I’m looking to accelerate my career in this line of work, hoping to lead my team of developers.”
Example 3: Financial accountant
“Good morning! I am John, and I’m a financial accountant. I recently finished my master’s in Accounting from ABC University, after completing Business Administration at UG level. During my course, I gained some exciting work experience at a reputed consultancy firm. Now, I am ready to dive deeper, open to opportunities at SMEs in the financial sector.”
Example 4: Student
“Hi! I’m Mike. I’m so glad you took some time out of your schedule to have a word. I’m currently a student at ABC university where I’m studying for my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management. Throughout my work experience, I have been relied upon as the one with detail-oriented and innovative ideas. I have always wanted to work in a sustainable environment, and that’s why I think I would make a great addition to your team.”
“Hi! My name is Phoebe. I am a student majoring in software engineering at <University name> and am seeking an internship opportunity starting next month. I am interested in front-end designing and testing, which aligns well with the intern position in your team. I have completed several engineering projects through my course, and last semester, I interned at <company name>. There, I designed and tested <field specific> prototypes. I then created summary reports based on the same. Your team produces industry-leading products in the <field>, and I would love to be a part of your sustainable work culture. I’d love it if you went through my resume and considered me for an interview.”
While making an elevator pitch as an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to be creative and present unique solutions that sets you apart from your competitors. Look up Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle of Marketing’, and you will be able to gain the trust of your listener much more quickly.
You can follow the sample template as the foundation and then add your spices based on your approach to problems.
Hi! I’m Rachel, the founder of <company name>. During my collaboration with hundreds of marketers, I quickly noticed that most of them hated creating summarized reports out of the data in their project board on Google Sheets, and it was not their priority either. My company has developed a tool that automatically pulls all the data on your project board and then creates an automated report in less than 60s. Would you be interested in learning more about our ingenious solution and make your workplace more efficient?
Now that you know what’s an elevator pitch and how to craft one, here’s a piece of small advice to end this discussion. While it is an ideal practice to draft one in advance and practicing it multiple times, it should only come when the listener prompts you to speak.
If you craft an elevator pitch and then blabber the same one to everybody without comprehending the situation, you are essentially setting yourself up for downfall as you end up losing the value proposition.
Instead, maintain composure and deliver an interesting well-drafted speech when it’s actually time.
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