When interviewers or anyone in a position to hire asks, “Tell us about yourself”, many people either wing it and end up talking way too long or they only mention their job title and a few unremarkable things they’ve done in the past. In a workshop I attended recently, the instructors outlined the ingredients for a perfect elevator talent pitch. It’s an opportunity to give brief but powerful information with a few “wow” achievements. In a sea of job applicants and the need to impress connections, being memorable is even more important. Knowing your skill set, passion and the value you can bring to an organization will lead to an elevator pitch that’s natural instead of contrived or boring.
This can also be an opportunity to explain where you see yourself in the future and why, especially if you’re planning on pivoting careers. Explaining why you took the leap into a different field by talking about your transferable skills helps people understand where you’re headed. The first step is to prepare a short pitch about yourself that outlines three talents and ties them to the proof of your accomplishments. Keeping it to three skills is one way to keep it short and memorable. Second, practice it several times before your next interview. Try it on someone you know and see what their response is to it. My friend, JoAnne, was able to tell her elevator talent pitch to someone she met on a plane and landed a new job a month later because of her career storytelling ability.
6 Steps To Create Your Highlight Reel:
- Write It Down: Kerri Twig, a career story coach, recommends setting aside 5-10 minutes a day for a week in order to write out your most amazing achievements. This helps clarify which ones you want to highlight. She also recommends writing your own job description/ad that you want. Keep it to three talents at the most.
- Time Box It: Try two versions. One is 30 seconds and one is 60 seconds. It will come in handy when you actually only have :30 seconds to impress someone casually. You may also want to have a few different versions based on who you’re talking to at the time. It will be more relevant for them and because of that - will make you more relevant and memorable.
- What’s Compelling? Anyone can say they are awesome but few can prove it. Have one or two lines with the proof. Consider including hard numbers and goals achieved so the other person can visualize how you can contribute to their company or who they’d want to introduce you to in the future.
- You’re the Product: Treat yourself, business or product like a brand. What’s the one thing you or your business can offer than nobody else can? How are you different? Think about your unique value proposition and what you bring to the table.
- Keep It Fluid/Revise It: Your elevator talent pitch should be a living, breathing thing - just like your resume. As you learn more and upskill, it will evolve and become stronger.
- Add A Tagline: Including a phrase at the end of your elevator pitch can help solidify a positive first impression in the other person’s mind. Examples could be the following:
- Building X has taught me
- Leadership has recognized X
- I help transform X
- I’ve been passionate about X
Since your “loose connections” tend to be the strongest in terms of landing a position, it’s time well spent practicing your elevator talent pitch.
Reviewed & Recommended:
Kerri Twig is an expert in career storytelling and has recently written a book: The Career Stories Method: 11 Steps to Find Your Ideal Career—and Discover Your Awesome Self in the Process
Kerri also has a huge YouTube following with loads of content on career storytelling: Land a job without applying | Career Stories Live Episode 10
| MORE ARTICLES
Emily’s vision for illume hire developed as part of her journey from a startup-curious sales and media professional to co-founder and CEO. Her passion is to provide resources to support professionals with 20+ years experience. Emily was part of the founding leadership team of Age Equity Alliance, a non-profit focused on the benefits of an intergenerational team.