How Does Your Elevator Pitch Compare?

Joe Weinlick
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Have you ever considered your personal branding? Creating an elevator pitch that sums up your career situation and aspirations can help you to network more effectively. It could even lead to you making new connections or landing a new job.

An elevator pitch is a personal branding statement that sums up who you are and what you do in less than a minute — the time it takes to travel between floors in an elevator. It can take some time to craft the perfect elevator pitch, but it could pay off in terms of the opportunities it creates.

Start by identifying the most important aspects of your personality and career, and then work on combining them into a polished elevator pitch. Even if you don't have a job right now, you can talk about your career aspirations, as well as your life outside the job hunt. Don't be embarrassed about your lack of a job. Instead, make your pitch with confidence. "I'm a keen swing dancer who is looking for a programming position in the San Jose area," sounds a lot more engaging than "Oh... um, well, I'm between jobs right now."

An elevator pitch should always be brief. Don't turn a simple getting-to-know-you question, such as "What do you do?" into an opportunity to ramble about your life for the next 10 minutes. Answer the question with a sentence or two, then turn the question back to the other person. Most people enjoy being asked about themselves, so always remember to be personable by inquiring about others and what they do.

You might need to adapt your elevator pitch depending on the type of person you are speaking to. For example, if you are a programmer talking to other programmers, then it's fine to say that you do full-stack web development with JavaScript, but when you're speaking to someone from a different field of work, it's better to simply say you design websites. You can still give specific details about what you do, but keep your pitch focused on the outcomes of your work, not the methods you use to achieve them. As another instance, you could say "I design websites that can interact with users," rather than going into the technical details of the code you write. You also need to alter your elevator pitch when you are introducing yourself over email or phone, rather than in person, so the language you use sounds natural in each case.

A snappy elevator pitch that conveys a sense of your personality and aspirations can help you make new connections, whether you are at a formal networking event or simply meeting friends of your friends. Keep your elevator pitch short and to the point to make an impact on the people you meet.

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