Getting dressed up to go mingle with professionals and network with them is pretty much a love-it or hate-it scenario. As a socially awkward introvert who spends most of her time indoors, curtains drawn and perusing the Internet, I personally am on the hate-it end of the spectrum. On the bright side, it doesn’t have to be quite as bad if you have a good elevator pitch.
As Brian explained an elevator speech, imagine you’re in the elevator of a company you want to work for. You’re on your way to a higher floor to go to an interview to promote yourself for an open position. On your way up, someone gets into the elevator looking like they’re high on the totem pole at the company. You start a conversation, telling them you’re interested in working for the company and what your skills can do. Ideally, they are impressed by your pitch, and is able to put in a good word for you as the company is considering you for the position. Here’s the trick to an elevator pitch: it only lasts the length of time it takes to get from one floor to the other destination.
1) A good elevator pitch should consist of 3 main parts: who you are, what you offer, and the benefits of hiring you.
Who you are: Briefly describe yourself. Don’t bore them with what college you went to or what your major was, they don’t care about that. Tell them what you do and be enthusiastic about it, and stick to the essentials.
What you offer: Give a specific example of a problem you solved or a significant contribution you’ve made, and explain why you’re interested in their company.
The benefits of hiring you: Tell your listener what you can do for them and the rest of the company. What are the advantages of working with you? What makes you different from the next person that walks through the door looking for a job?
2) End with a call to action. Before your interaction, what do you want to gain from the experience? Be it a business card, referral, or an appointment to speak with someone further make your goal known so they can help you take action.
3) It helps to write it down beforehand. Cut out the jargon and tell them only exactly what they need to know about you.
Networking and putting yourself out there to employers isn’t something many people would have at the top of their “Things I Want To Do Today” list. If you come up with the perfect elevator pitch, the first 30 seconds of the conversation are done and what follows is a result. Come up with your elevator pitch and rise (get it? Elevator jokes) to the occasion. Good luck!