The Most Used Tool in Your Job Search and Career

Posted by Rob Riggins

Most used tool in your job search tool kitPersonal introduction, 30-second commercial, elevator pitch or elevator speech. Whichever name you choose, it’s the most-used tool in your job search, and hopefully, your career.

You’ve no doubt put a fair amount of effort into your resume and worked to brush up on your interviewing skills. But how much energy have you put into developing your elevator speech?

An effective elevator speech introduces you to someone in a concise and informative way. You communicate who you are as a professional and what you are seeking.

When you provide others — whether it’s a recruiter or another professional — with concise, clear information about yourself from a well-crafted elevator speech, you’re giving them information to respond to. The response is going to be more informed, more targeted and more insightful. Plus you’ve made a better first impression.

You’ll use a version of your elevator speech when you:

  • Attend a job fair and introduce yourself to employers. With each new company that you introduce yourself to you’re using a version of your elevator speech targeted to your interests at that company.
  • Talk to other job seekers or professionals at a job fair or any networking event. You’ll adapt your elevator speech so that it’s relevant to the setting and the individual.
  • Email your resume to someone asking them for help. You’ll use a version of your elevator speech in the body of the email to explain who you are and what you are looking for.
  • Answer that introductory interview question, “So tell me about yourself.” That’s an opportunity to use a more robust version of your elevator speech.

In other words, any time you talk to someone about your job search or your career, you’ll be using a version of your elevator speech.

Good elevator speeches are actually quite rare. So rare in fact that when you do have an effective one, you will truly stand out to whomever you are speaking to.

We all focus on our Resume, which is certainly important in a job search. But realize that your Interview actually starts with your first interaction with any company representative. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, so be prepared by having a well-articulated elevator speech ready to go.

Creating an Effective Elevator Speech

Key points to remember when crafting your elevator speech:

  1. Keep it to 30-45 seconds or three to four sentences. Beyond that timeframe and your audience is no longer listening effectively. Go for short declarative sentences.
  2. Tailor your speech to the situation as necessary. Reduce your use of acronyms unless you are sure your listener uses them. If you’re in a cleared community setting such as a Cleared Job Fair, include your clearance.
  3. Include what your career goal is or the type of work or information you’re seeking.
  4. Give one to two key accomplishments that are relevant for your profession. Just as you use STAR statements for your resume, LinkedIn profile or interview stories, accomplishments are relevant here as well.
  5. When talking to employers, reference the type of work you’ve done, your strengths in that line of work, and soft skills that demonstrate your value.
  6. Avoid buzzwords and say what makes you unique. Avoid generic statements such as I’m a hard-working people person, detail-oriented, self-starter, etc.
  7. Try not to sound like you’re reciting a poem or other canned speech.
  8. When networking, include what brings you to the event, what issues you are interested in, and ask the other person what interests them.
  9. Ask for feedback from friends on your speech. Practice.

Keep it short, clear and interesting!

Example for a Recruiter at a Cleared Job Fair:

I’m Joe Job Seeker, an award-winning web designer with a Top Secret clearance. I’ve been recognized by my clients for fulfilling user needs and delivering a finished product that exceeds project requirements. I’m seeking new opportunities where I can leverage my proven ability to translate complex issues quickly and effectively. You have a Sr. Web Designer opening in Huntsville….

Example for a Professional in a Networking Scenario:

I’m Jane Professional, a Program Manager for ________________.  My specialty is turning around poorly performing programs. Recently I took over a failing contract and within 90 days rebuilt effective customer interaction, improved critical metrics, closed all overdue items and led the team to a successful re-award. I’m here tonight to learn more about opportunities and contracts that are available. What brings you to ___________________?

Not Just for Your Job Search

An effective elevator speech is a good tool to use throughout your career. It’s relevant in any networking setting such as a conference or meeting where you are meeting new people. And professionals who network throughout their career are more successful than those who only network when they are in job search mode. Staying connected provides you with information, trends and knowledge helpful to your career.

Stay plugged in to your network. Help others when you can. Nurture your networking relationships. Your career will thank you.


This entry was posted on Friday, May 06, 2016 7:40 am

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