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The elevator pitch: What it is and how to perfect it

December 21, 2014

The elevator pitch is the simplest form of marketing yourself. It’s your resume, cover letter and interview, all in 20-30 seconds. But how do you prepare an elevator pitch? And when will you ever need one?

Preparing an elevator pitch is much like preparing for a job interview. You are preparing for a situation in which you only have a few minutes to catch the interest and attention of a decision maker; whether it be the CEO of a company you’d like to work for, or perhaps another parent at your child’s soccer game who is well connected.

Your pitch needs to be concise while also showing your audience that you are qualified, well-spoken and of course, qualified for the position.

Start by shaping your elevator pitch on paper:

  • Introduce yourself and your current position and company.
  • Explain the position that you are interested in.
  • Focus on the audiences needs. What can you do for them?
  • Speak in easy-to-understand terms. Just because someone is the CEO of a technology company, doesn’t mean they know anything about computer programming.
  • Read your pitch back to yourself to make sure it doesn’t sound like you’re reading a script.
  • Practice! Use a mirror, record your voice or practice in front of a friend or family member.
  • Prepare yourself for varying situations. What if you meet the CEO? What if you meet the human resources director?

Remember to be yourself. All of the planning and advice in the world will only get you so far. It ultimately boils down to the impression you leave with your audience. Be confident, look the person in the eye and deliver your message with a welcoming smile.

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