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October 15, 2020
If you’ve ever been in a job interview, a networking event, or even out to dinner with friends, you’ve had to give the dreaded elevator pitch. Just the idea of having to regurgitate your resume to a bunch of strangers can strike fear in the best of us, or writer’s block in the worst.
Just to make sure we’re on the same page here (not literally of course–pun intended), an elevator pitch is a quick, pithy statement that clearly communicates who you are, what expertise you bring to the table and why you’re the best candidate for the role.
Most people don’t know how to turn their life story into a 30 second statement for good reason: it’s not an easy task!
If you did a quick poll (and by the way, I have!), you’d find that 99% of people fall into 1 of 3 camps:
a) They hate to brag about themselves
b) They don’t know how to talk about their accomplishments
c) They can’t keep their story under 1 minute
Which one are you?
The struggle to write a solid elevator pitch is REAL, but thankfully, as someone who has gone on 50+ interviews & won 3 global startup competitions in the last 2 years, I can tell you that the process gets easier.
With each delivery of your pitch, it becomes more and more a part of your voice, and soon, will feel like your story–not some artificially fused together sentence that may or may not accurately depict your worth as an employee (oh yeah, and human being!).
One of the biggest secrets I learned on my path to working at Google & Facebook is that there are 3 major components to any successful elevator pitch:
If you can get some stellar responses to those 3 bullets, you’re well on your way to acing your next job interview (or at the very least, making a good impression on the hiring manager).
Interviewing well is a skill, not a talent, and its one that is crafted through trial and error.
Let’s dive into each a bit deeper:
The best way to start is at the beginning: Look at the job description.
In order to do that, you have to understand what they’re looking for, and that is in the job description.
Those main keywords need to be in the first sentence of your elevator pitch so you can capture their attention quickly and show that you’re the perfect fit for the position. Tie that into your current or most recent role & how you do those things on a daily basis.
If what you’re doing now is a detailed snapshot into your day to day life, what you did in the past needs to be a broad overview of the activities you did in your previous roles. What are 4-5 main verbs you can think of to describe your expertise & biggest wins?
Again, go back to the job description. Look at the main verbs or common activities they are asking for, and choose the ones that most directly resonate with what you did. You can literally say the exact same things if needed, it will show that you are perfectly aligned with the requirements– no need to reinvent the wheel.
I tell all of my clients that the secret to sales is to MIRROR what the person is looking for.
Mirroring is a psychological technique where the seller restates what the client said back to them in a slightly different way so that the client believes the seller agrees with them. It’s designed to show the person that you’re listening and that you understand them and is most effective when you repeat three words from the last words your counterpart has spoken.
If you apply this to a job description, you’ll be able to create a really good impression with your interviewer and make them believe that not only do you understand the role well, but that you’d excel at it.
Want to learn more about mirroring? Check out this interesting article.
Now it’s time to bring it home. After you’ve spent 20 seconds talking about your present qualifications & past experience, you want to close with why you are an excellent fit for the company, not just the role.
To really wow your interviewer in this part of the pitch, head over to the company’s mission or about page. See what they list as their company values and find 3 that resonate with you. Once you have them, incorporate them into your closing statement by starting with this phrase:
and insert those 3 values. This shows the interviewer that you fit with their company culture and share the same outlook as they do.
Lastly, end with why you are excited about the role, what brought you here today and that you’re excited to learn more about the team and what an ideal candidate looks like. This closes your elevator pitch by opening space for a conversation with the interviewer, to get their perspective and feedback and will help you gather the information you need to succeed in this interview.
I’ve learned that the secret to succeeding is to make the process as conversational as possible, and to not make it feel like a drill. Remember, your interviewer is a person who is just trying to get to know you, and the more you study up on the person, the role & the company in advance, the more VALUE you’ll have to bring the conversation, and the more likelihood you’ll have of moving to the next round (and hopefully an offer!).
If you have more questions about interviewing, resumes or LinkedIn, set up a free discovery call with me. I’d love to learn more about you and your goals, and to show you how I can help you achieve them!
You can also check me out on social (@celinasouffrant on LinkedIn, Twitter & Instagram) to stay up to date with the latest career & startup tips, advice, trends.