It isn’t often that we find a unique job search idea that we haven’t heard of before. After all, we’ve been writing blog articles on the subject for nearly eight years now and did a lot of research and gained extensive knowledge through writing our book, Jails to Jobs: Seven Steps to Becoming Employed.
But recently we came across an article by Priscilla Tan on The Muse website that made us stop and think more creatively about the so-called elevator pitch.
Elevator pitch answers “tell me about yourself” question
Everyone who is searching for a job needs an elevator pitch, a 15- to 30 second speech that job seekers use to sell themselves and to answer the “tell me about yourself” question that almost always pops up in interviews. Its name comes from the fact that you should be able to give it during the time an elevator makes its way between a few floors.
The point of an elevator pitch is to draw attention to yourself and start a conversation. They can be – and usually are — pretty standard and dull. But they don’t have to be. They can go beyond the “I’m (fill in the blank) who enjoys (fill in the blank) and has accomplished (fill in the blank), or the “what.”
Highlight the “why”
According to Tan, these speeches can speak to the “why” – or why you do the type of work you do. And we feel that they can also tell a story.
Stories can be used to demonstrate where someone finds meaning in their life. Offering the “why” embedded in a story can be a great way to convince someone you are a good fit for a job.
For example, a carpenter might say, “Ever since I was a child I liked to build things. When I was in high school I built a tree house that was the social center for my circle of friends. Since then I have worked on house construction and cabinets and have a special interest in building things from recycled wood, adding touches like stained glass windows from old homes that have been demolished. I love to be a part of creating something beautiful that people can use or live in.”
Another example for someone who works with computers: “I started to use a computer at age 3 and programmed my first video games in elementary school. I taught myself more advanced programming online and now design websites for restaurants and hotels, which I love to do because it brings out my creative side.”
The goal of an elevator pitch is to get hiring managers – and potential hiring managers who you might meet at a party or event – to remember you. It can also be a conversation starter.
Tips for presenting the best elevator pitch
But writing an elevator pitch is just the first step. To make sure that it is as good as it can be, you should:
- Write it down and practice it every day until it becomes part of you.
- Record it to see how you sound.
- Do it in front of your family and/or friends.
- Speak slowly and clearly.
- Deliver it in a natural way that doesn’t sound memorized (even though it is).
- Use conventional English – no slang.
Make sure you use your elevator pitch when you meet a new person at a party, event or in your neighborhood. You can never practice too much.
And who knows? One of these people might know someone who knows someone who just might be interested in hiring a person with your skills.