Top Ten Tips for Mastering Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a short (usually a minute or less) speech that draws people in and tells them about your work, your goals, and your interests. An elevator pitch is vital if you’re attending any sort of networking or industry event, but it is good to have one prepared even if you have no events planned – who knows when you’ll bump into an old friend who’s started a business, or get chatting to someone on the bus who works in your industry. It never hurts to be prepared, so here are our top ten tips to help you draft an amazing pitch!
1. Know your brand
Before you even start drafting your elevator pitch, you need to have a pretty firm understanding of a couple of things: your strengths, your career goals, and your passions. If you have a firm grasp on these elements then you know who you want to target, the type of work you want to be doing, and which areas of the industry you’d like to work in. You’re trying to sell your brand (you!) to an employer, make them interested in who you are and why they want you to work for them. If you know these key points that make up your brand, you’ll have a better idea of how to draft your pitch.
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2. Draft some points
Before you start stressing, simply sit down and make a few lists. Note things like any accomplishments you’ve achieved, what you’ve studied, work experience you’ve had, and any major passions that may contribute to your career. Once you’ve done that, highlight the points that you feel employers would be most impressed with – you probably don’t want to mention more than 4 points, otherwise your elevator pitch will start feeling more like a list.
3. Keep it conversational
Your elevator pitch should be professional, but friendly. This isn’t a speech you do in class, nor is it like reading out your resume. You’re having a conversation with someone, so make your language as friendly and accessible as possible.
4. Always keep your goal in mind
If you’re chatting with an employer because you’d like a job with them, keep that in mind as you’re writing your pitch. Be clear about the work you want, and the field you’d like to work in. You don’t need to go into a tonne of detail, but the more specific you are the easier it is for employers to see where you would fit into their organisation.
5. Keep the structure concise
Generally speaking, an elevator pitch has a pretty clear beginning, middle and end. Depending on the situation, you want to start by introducing yourself and saying what you study. Then go into more detail about your experience and the areas of your work you’re most passionate about. At the end, you want to tie in your career goals (ie. What type of job you’d like to have).
Read more: How to Utilise Your Strengths and Soar
6. Remember who you’re talking to
While it’s good to be conversational, you want to make sure that your elevator pitch is tailored to your audience. If there’s a specific industry you’d like to work in, you want to tailor your pitch to employers in that industry. Think of what they would be looking for, the attitude their company values, and what you have to offer them.
7. Avoid complicated jargon
Many industries have their own set of jargon that people who work in that industry use on a particular basis. While it’s great to know these phrases, leave them out of your elevator pitch. Oftentimes, especially with larger organisations, the people who will be at networking events won’t be working directly with the department you want to apply for. They are usually from the human resources department, so there’s a chance they won’t understand any jargon you decide to throw in. Keep it simple, down to earth, and save the more complicated jargon for the interview.
Writing your elevator pitch out in full is a great idea, but you need to practice. You won’t be able to pull out a piece of paper and read verbatim, so you need to memorise your main points and be able to explain them without appearing as though you’ve simply memorised an entire speech. The more you practice you do, the more natural and enthusiastic you can appear on the day.
9. Get feedback
If you have the chance, practice your elevator pitch in front of family members or friends, and see what they think. Ideally, try to choose someone who works in your dream industry or who has some solid business experience so they can give you constructive criticism.
Alternatively, the UTS:Careers Recruitment Advisors can help give you some feedback on how to write a pitch targeting your ideal employer. Just swing by our level 4 office (CB01.04.13) for a 15 minute Careers Drop-in anytime between 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday. Check out our Facebook page for our hours, as they are sometimes subject to change.
Read more: Networking at Industry Careers Fairs
10. Have a contingency
Maybe you don’t plan to go to a networking event, but if you’ve bumped into someone on the street, started chatting about work, and you feel they may be able to offer you a job opportunity, then having a slightly more standard elevator pitch prepared is a good idea. Your main elevator pitch should be tailored to your ideal industry, and will likely be delivered in a networking setting. Your contingency pitch should still use the same structure, but it can afford to be a little more relaxed. Rather than necessarily writing everything out in typical speech format, try writing your main points down (think back to tip #2 above), and practice a pitch simply based on these points. If you have them, and their order, memorised it puts you in much better stead if an opportunity arises out of the blue!
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.
By Mia Casey