How to Craft a Memorable Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a brief introduction designed to spark interest and further conversation. The goal is to introduce yourself and your experience to a potential employer. The name “elevator pitch” comes from the premise that it should take the length of an elevator ride to tell your story to capture attention.
1. Introduce yourself
2. Provide a brief history of your experience
3. Apply your experience to potential positions
4. Request an interview
Use active verbs, such as: I led, I directed, I managed, I carried out.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Don’t pack your experience into one phrase that you assume everyone will know. You might think that stating you’re Army 11 Bravo paints an entire picture of what you did, what you are qualified to do, and how it’s applicable in the civilian workforce. However, you cannot assume a civilian recruiter will understand your military experience. Better to briefly explain those duties for better understanding and appreciation of your skill set.
Follow the Basic Elements of An Introduction:
A firm handshake (but not a vice grip);
Step into your handshake;
Make eye contact; and
SMILE – this will warm you up and give an impression of you as a positive person.
Jonathan spent eight years in the army as a 13E working in artillery. He earned his associate’s degree while serving, and is currently getting his bachelor’s degree. He has been working in data administration for the last two years, but wants to move into marketing after he graduates.
Of course, Army veterans will know that a 13E MOS is an artillery role in the fire direction center. These soldiers compute data that make sure that artillery rounds impact where they should to have the desired effect on the enemy, and avoid friendly fire-type incidents. It involves a lot of fast-paced data analysis and data computation. But how can Jonathan convey that in his elevator pitch?
Consider the sample elevator pitch below, as well as the points subtly being conveyed in parentheses: the pitch:
“Hi. I’m Jonathan. I’m interested in learning more about the career options at your organization. I served in Army artillery units for eight years. I led a small team and managed data in fast-paced and high stress environments (I can work under pressure). I ensured that we completed our mission efficiently to support the other members of our unit and allow them to carry out their mission (I’m a team player). Since exiting the Army two years ago, I’ve worked as a data administrator and I’ve been working on my bachelor’s degree in business, which I’ll complete in May.
I recently led a project team of three to reconfigure our data management, and this reduced department costs by 12% (I bring value and the ability to lower your bottom line). Through my classwork, I’ve developed an interest in applying my attention to detail and analytical abilities (playing up soft skills) in a marketing analysis type of role. I’ve also started operating a growing blog (I’m aware of marketing trends and I’ve taken the initiative to step into that world on my own).
So, what can I do for your company (recruiters love it when candidates make this point)? I believe my background in data management, analysis and computation in fast-paced environments (again, I can work under time constraints), plus my passion for marketing would make me a great fit on your marketing team.”
A Step Further
You could even take this pitch one step further and add, “I’m interested in the marketing analyst role that I saw on your website.” This shows you’ve done your research and are serious about your job search. That goes a long way with recruiters.
By stating that he worked in a fast-paced, high-stress environment, Jonathan conveys that he can get things done within time constraints – a useful skill in the business world.
Jonathan stated how he led a project team and how it reduced costs. By doing so, he’s made it easy for a recruiter to see the value he brings.
Think of an achievement or accomplishment from the last 6-12 months. How can you weave it into your elevator pitch?