The Elevator Pitch: Crafting Your Story
People hire people, they don’t hire résumés.
Interviews are a chance to give employers a chance to get to know you, so why focus on what’s already listed in your resume?
To present a memorable first impression, you want to craft an introduction that is concise, appealing, and informative. An elevator pitch is a 60-90 second description about yourself, that you can share in the time it would take to ride in an elevator ride with someone.
Of course, each of our stories are complex and none of us can be summarized into a few sentences, but the point of an elevator pitch is to prepare your opening words, so you can respond to the rest of the interview questions with poise.
Your elevator pitch should also be work-focused, it’s not the time to mention kids, hobbies, or family background. You want to select words about your passion that align with the work you want to do.
The best elevator pitches start with a leading statement, followed by relevant details, and ties your experience back to the position. You want your initial sentence to be a strong, powerful topic sentence that reinforces your capabilities.
A common mistake is to begin with standard narratives that repeat what is on your resume such as, “I graduated from,” or “I have 20 years of experience.”
Instead put thought and flair into your opening line:
“I’m an accomplished [role-related: sales, operations, project manager, etc. or activity: storyteller, revenue driver] with a history of successfully [accomplishing results: managing large, complex projects, or propelling operations to new levels of efficiency or story-based: removing headaches for the C-Suite, connecting dots for sales teams].”
Help Them See The Future – With You In It!
After your opening statement where you share who you are and your career passions, look to the future. Talk about where you are today, your interests, and the next step you want to take. For instance:
“After taking a career break for family reasons, I’m exploring roles where I can use my project management and partnerships background to create impact. The position at [Company] requires similar skills – organization, negotiation, and relationship-building – to those I used when I managed 12 partnership programs and improved applicant flow and success rate by 20%.”
If you are able to share details, they should portray your story as well as predict your future success in the position.
We know sometimes it’s hard to quantify results and tie experiences together in a neat bow. A few tips on getting in the right frame of mind:
- Share successes, accomplishments and achievements in a way that mirrors the culture of the company
- Even though you may not have been in the workforce for several years, consider how your prior efforts contributed to the accomplished person you are today
- Establish a present state of mind and focus on the potential you possess right now
Finally, conclude your pitch by stating why you would be a good fit for the company. Combine all the information you shared and explain how it can be successfully attributed to the position at hand. Let them know you would love to bring your skills and attributes to this position and thank them for the opportunity to talk further.
“In my last role, I led the creation of a $600K healthcare training program with ABC Company that helped people from diverse backgrounds jumpstart careers in healthcare. We had an 35% improvement in our metrics. I’d love to deliver the same results for you.”
Should You Address Your Career Break?
You can share your career break if it is relevant to your story or if you feel comfortable doing so. However, in an elevator pitch, you don’t need to feel pressure to talk in detail or reveal more than you feel comfortable.
You might say something like, “For the past five years, I took a career sabbatical to care for a family member. During that time I took online courses in project management and recently completed a certificate in web design to update my skills.”
Let Yourself Shine
Returning to the workforce can be intimidating, but crafting a well-prepared elevator pitch can help ease the nerves. Exude an appealing personality that doesn’t restate your résumé, but rather shares your background in a manner that reflects the culture of the company and where you want to go. The key is to elaborate on how your achievements and skills will contribute to your promising future at the company, because you are an accomplished and dynamic professional. You’ve got this!
Learn more about crafting your elevator pitch by watching an on-demand webinar.