Can you describe what you do in under 30 seconds? If you stumble over your words when asked what you do, you’re not alone. It’s common to feel nervous when talking about yourself. So, what’s the answer? The personal elevator pitch, of course! When you perfect (and practice) your pitch you’ll increase your chances of landing opportunities to advance your career. It’s also pretty handy if you feel awkward in social situations.

What is a Personal Elevator Pitch?
Your personal elevator pitch is a short statement of just a few sentences that succinctly describes what you do in a positive, non- salesy, way. Whether you’re between jobs, at home with children, gainfully employed, self-employed or are exploring a hobby that you want to turn into a small business, you should have an elevator pitch perfected and at the ready. After all, you never know who you might meet and what opportunity is just around the corner, so it pays to be prepared.

Why Create a Personal Elevator Pitch?
Career Consultant Kate Langford says when put under pressure, most people find it stressful to describe what they do. “If you have prepared an elevator pitch and know what to say, you won’t stutter and will increase your chances of landing your dream job!”

The Elevator Pitch Structure
What is the elevator pitch structure? The elevator pitch structure is the way you write your spiel. It should have a beginning, a middle and an end, just like any good speech. Begin by explaining what you do, your accomplishments or what you enjoy about your job, then go on to explain your future ambitions.

Kate Langford’s tips on perfecting your elevator pitch.

• Keep it concise. This shouldn’t be surprising. No one has the time to hear you go on about your certifications and your irrelevant accomplishments. Make it as concise as possible so that you don’t sound boring.

• Mention your most notable accomplishments. If you have an accomplishment or two to share, then don’t forget to highlight them. But make sure those accomplishments are relevant to your career goals and are impressive.

• Highlight your skills & credentials. Do not repeat the long list of skills and credentials in your resume. Instead, use the same formula as in the previous point – highlight the most relevant points and keep it under 30 seconds.

• Don’t forget to practice! Finally, it’s crucial that you practice your elevator speech over and over again until it sounds natural.

Elevator Pitch Examples
“I’m a freelance journalist. I specialise in writing health and medical features. I work for print magazines, including Health News, but I also write for online publications, like Nurses Online. I enjoy learning about health-related issues. But lately, I’ve been considering putting more energy into my fiction writing, specifically writing children’s books.”

“I’m a store manager for a large supermarket. I enjoy the managerial aspect of my work and interacting with staff, but lately I’ve been considering moving away from the retail sector. I’m interested in working for a not-for-profit organisation and hope to move into this industry in the future.”

When to Use Your Elevator Pitch
The perfect time (or occasion) to use your elevator pitch is at job fairs, networking seminars, and other gatherings, says Langford. “There are no limitations as long as the timing is appropriate. You can even use it in a supermarket when you run into an old friend who happens to be a recruiter while shopping for your groceries!”

Better Conversations = Meaningful Connections!
Most of us don’t enjoy networking, but a personal elevator pitch makes it less daunting. If you spend half an hour perfecting your personal elevator pitch it will benefit you for the rest of your working life. You’ll increase your chances of making meaningful connections with people who may be able to help you achieve your career goals.

Adelaide Morse

Writer at Candlefox
Adelaide is a passionate writer for the Candlefox education and career network and an advocate for women’s rights in the workplace. She enjoys travel, food and most of all, a good cup of tea at the end of the day.
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