Consider this your crash course in lady bragging.
You may think that elevator pitches are just for aspiring authors desperate to get their manuscripts to the top of an editor’s pile, but they’re actually useful for just about any career or aspiration out there. Yours included. You absolutely need a short speech about yourself that you could reel off in the elevator at every stage of your career, even if you don’t think you have much to brag about.
Everybody has a backstory. Everybody has an inspiration— perhaps it’s your favorite college professor to the female exec at your company whose career you hope to someday emulate. If you know where you’d like to get, all the better. Work it into your speech!
Nerdy confession: I love to read Career Contessa. It makes me feel like a girl boss. In fact, when I was in the seventh grade, I dreamed of being a high-powered lady lawyer who’d have a closet full of pastel-colored suits and heels that clacked when I walked through the courthouse. Legally Blonde only exacerbated this dream, of course.
The boardroom dream is becoming a more common goal for women everywhere, and making an elevator pitch is an absolute must-do!
Remember, there will always be multiple people who qualify for a particular job, but no one could do a job the way you could— and this is what your elevator pitch can let people know.
TELL YOUR STORY
Let people know where you’ve been and what you’ve done, but make it an enjoyable narrative. You know that cringeworthy feeling you used to get at parties when some random guy awkwardly asked you what your major was because he couldn’t think of any other way to make conversation with you? Don’t let your elevator pitch start off with that inauthentic feeling. Include the basics, but elaborate in an interesting way. For example, if you’re looking for a job in finance, include the fact that you love reading finance books and started your own lemonade stand business in the third grade. These kinds of relevant details make you endearing and show off your personality.
KEEP IT CONCISE
Once you write the first draft of your elevator pitch, cut it in half— that’s a good rule of thumb for how long it should be. Unless you’re literally as charismatic as JFK, it’ll be hard to keep a stranger’s attention for much more than a few minutes.
SHARE THE HIGHLIGHTS
There’s no need to recap the day-to-day at your last job. Focus instead on what you accomplished there— maybe you made a particular process faster and simpler or you spearheaded a project on your own. People want to help and hire achievers, not just doers. Positioning yourself in this light will set you up for even more success.
Even though your elevator pitch is a pre-written speech, it shouldn’t sound that way. Once you know your speech like the back of your hand, you can start to customize it for each situation at hand.
LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
You’ll most likely be using your elevator pitch for different purposes. Once you’re done giving insight about you, consider how this person you’re presenting to can help you, and guide the conversation in that direction. If you’re speaking to someone who works for a company you like but in an entirely different department, ask them if they know anyone in the department you’d like to work for. If this person knows someone you admire, ask for an introduction so you can get in touch to request an informational interview. If the person themselves is hiring for a role, get their contact information so that you are in the position to take the initiative and reach out to them.
Need more inspiration? Here are 41 elevator pitches to get you started.
Let us know some of your favorite elevator pitch strategies! Make sure to download Hey! VINA to meet other career-powered ladies!
(Featured image via Quiet Revolution)