Career Hacks: 10 Top Tips for a Killer Elevator Pitch

By Roxanne Abercrombie

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Could you convince an employer to hire you in under a minute? Given one shot and 60 seconds, would you be able to say the choice combination of words that would win you a job?

If the answer is yes, you’re either the late, great Steve Jobs reincarnate or the world’s best salesperson. If the answer is no, however, you should sharpen up your elevator pitch.

 A successful elevator pitch is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment in a working professional’s toolbox. Think of the perfect elevator pitch as a skeleton key that will open the toughest, most inaccessible career doors. Even if you don’t want to find a new job, an effective elevator pitch is something any committed professional should never be without. You’ll need one at networking events, at client meetings, in job interviews, or even as the name suggests – if you happen to meet a powerful CEO in an elevator and have the time it takes to climb a few levels to pitch yourself.

Whatever the context, here’s our top 10 recruiter tips on how to craft and deliver a powerfully persuasive elevator pitch that wins results:


1. Stick to a clear format

Yes, be original, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel. In your elevator pitch, you should get across the five core essentials: who you are, what you do, for whom you do it, what makes you better than others and what you hope to achieve.


2. Keep it short, powerful and punchy

An elevator pitch shouldn’t exceed 60 seconds. Due to the five essentials that you need to get across in that limited time, you’ve got to edit ruthlessly. No waffle; no repetition; strictly nothing unnecessary. Make an impact with a short, peppy pitch that covers every base quickly and compellingly.


3. Eliminate jargon

In order to get that short, punchy effect, you’ll need to scrap all jargon from your elevator pitch. In 60 seconds, don’t say, for example, that you’re fluent in HTML5, SQL, Ruby, C++ and Javascript when you could just say that you’ve worked in multiple developer jobs and are proficient in several programming codes. Make your pitch straightforward and easily understandable for someone from any industry.


4. Benefits, not products

Don’t say that you “offer an SEO service.” So what? So does every Tom, Dick and Harry in digital marketing jobs. Say, rather, that: “Businesses use my SEO services to get on the first page of Google, increasing their sales by 85% on average.” With that, you’re piquing the person’s interest by telling them precisely how you could benefit them and their business, not merely reeling off a boring explanation of what you do.


5. Be passionate

There’s no point in crafting 60 seconds of pure strategic brilliance if you’re going to deliver it in a wooden monologue. You need to pepper your elevator pitch with passion if you want to impress: it’s not a recited lecture. This not only includes your choice of wording but also your body language and tone of voice. We’re not advising you to jump up and down and thrash your arms around frantically, but you do need to let your authentic enthusiasm shine through.


6. Practice until you’re blue in the face

You’ll never get all of this right if you don’t practice out loud in front of a mirror. Practicing will increase your confidence and allow your elevator pitch to roll off your tongue naturally. You might find it embarrassing watching and hearing yourself pitch in front of the bedroom mirror, but it’s much better to practice alone than ending up stumbling over your words, talking too fast and forgetting important elements in real life. Plus, practice will ensure that you sound conversational and engaging whilst pitching rather than like a trained parrot with a great memory.


7. Identify your desired option

It should go without saying, but you need to identify what your ultimate goal is within your elevator pitch. Otherwise, you’re just boasting about yourself pointlessly. Your final point needs to emphasise your end objective so that your audience can see not only the story behind you but also a glimpse into where your journey is headed.


8. Create different flavours

If you’ve followed all the steps above, you should now have an impactful elevator pitch that you can say comfortably and compellingly. At this well-prepared stage, you’re ready to tweak and tailor content according to the listener. An elevator pitch should be a flexible marketing tool adjusted to your audience. Think of potential different contexts and prepare to fine-tune your pitch to interest different people.


9. Back it up

Don’t let your elevator pitch stand alone! Make sure you use it to establish a connection by following it up with a business card or brochure. Your words have made a strong impression, now make them count by leaving something tangible behind.


10. Pass the mic

The only thing left to do is to ask your audience an open-ended question to keep the conversation alive. You can’t afford to appear completely self-involved when meeting new people – you have to give something back and encourage prolonged engagement. Done successfully, your elevator pitch will become a valuable networking tool that will allow you to sell yourself as well as building useful working relationships.


So, what's holding you? There’s no better time to start than now. Get crafting your elevator pitch and see where it takes you – good luck!

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