Who are you? What do you do? These are questions each of us is asked every time we apply for a new job or attend a networking event, but for many people, they can be very difficult to answer.

For our latest #BizHubChat, we were joined by Stephanie Tsicos, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Joe Fresh Apparel, who helped us break down strategies for crafting your personal elevator pitch and telling your professional story.

Here are the highlights!

1) What is an elevator pitch and how long should it be?


An elevator pitch is a 30-second (imagine the length of an average elevator ride!) introduction designed to make an impact, highlight your skills and show off your authentic self. It’s an opportunity to share with a potential employer the value you would bring to their company. Your elevator pitch should ideally lead to a second, longer conversation.

Always make sure your delivery sounds natural, not robotic and rehearsed. An elevator pitch is also the perfect opportunity to communicate your personal brand with the person you are meeting.

2) What essential questions should my elevator pitch address?

Stephanie sums it up nicely:


Stephanie’s ideal pitch structure includes: who you are, what you do, why you’re a great fit and where you want to go in your career. Special skills also have a place in your pitch, but most importantly, your pitch should not just be a recitation of your resume, but a showcase of your awesome personality.

Your pitch should not just highlight what you do but what you’ve accomplished. Think value over job description. The key question to answer is “who are you?” But that question is a bit more complex than just giving them your name and your title. Use your elevator to pitch to share your goals and emphasize what sets you apart from the competition.

An elevator pitch is your chance to tell an employer exactly why they need you. But as Asher Alkoby points out, everyone is “passionate” about the work they are doing. Make sure your pitch provides specifics to ensure it makes an impact:

3) How can I ensure that my elevator pitch generates interest and conversation?

Your pitch needs to be tailored to your audience and their needs. Also, confidence and body language are key. It helps to think of your pitch as less of a sales pitch and more of a conversation. A pitch will be more memorable if it takes the form of a valuable exchange as opposed to a monologue.

Remember that if you start strong with a good opener your pitch is more likely to be a success. Also, much like you wouldn’t submit the same resume to multiple employers, you shouldn’t use the same pitch with everyone you meet.

4) How much information is too much information when delivering a professional pitch?


Your pitch should be a core message addressing some simple facts. If it’s a success, it will develop into a longer conversation. In addition to your basic facts it’s also good to talk about your personal interests – but don’t get too personal! If you do share more personal details, make sure you pay attention to your audience and their body language.


Overall, the best rule is to keep it simple. If they want to know more, that conversation will naturally grow out of your pitch.

5) What’s the best way to prepare for telling your professional story?

Practice, practice, practice. We heard it from nearly all of our participants:

 

As with most things in life, practice is the key to success. Make sure you practice enough to earn the confidence to deliver your pitch naturally.

6) When is the right time to use an elevator pitch?


Your pitch should always be in your back pocket because you never know when an opportunity will arise! You can weave your pitch into almost any conversation, but listen out for prompts like “what do you do?” or “what’s your story?”

While there are many scenarios when a pitch is appropriate, you need to be conscious of who you are speaking to and if your pitch will resonate with them. Timing is everything.

Want to check out the full #BizHubChat on telling your professional story? Visit this Storify summary to relive the entire chat.

Follow TRSM’s Business Career Hub on Twitter: @TRSMcareers

Posted by Dan Kennedy

Dan Kennedy is Manager of the TRSM Business Career Hub. He has over 10 years of experience helping students successfully navigate the job search process. His areas of expertise are resume writing, interviews, and Batman-related trivia.