Shaping Your Next Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a speech that uses both hard and soft skills to market oneself to a potential employer or network. The difference between soft and hard skills are as follows. Soft skills are composed of your personality traits; like whether or not you are adaptable or accountable. Hard skills are more technical based. Take for example if you were a manager at a retail store, one of your hard skills would be ‘experience with customer service.’

What then goes into a good elevator pitch? By following these five steps according to guest writer Dwight Peters on, you will find success:

(1) Make Them Care And Demonstrating Your Credibility

Bussiness professionals hear elevator pitches all the time. Make your pitch stand out from others by knowing your audience and tailoring your speech to them. Have an understanding of what your prospective audience wants or needs in an employee. One can do this by being sure to include transferable hard or soft skills that you see commonly sought after in job descriptions.

Take, for example, a person who’s giving their elevator pitch to an accounting manager. Let’s say this person had experience in child care. There certainly are some transferable soft skills this individual could use in their elevator pitch. However, it isn’t necessarily the most relevant experience. A more relevant hard skill you could mention is your experience in your college’s student government association as a treasurer, which establishes your credibility.

(2) Leave them wanting more

Elevator pitches are meant to be short, no longer than 60 seconds. Be sure to include the most relevant information up front, but don’t reveal too much. Strategically leaving out certain information will leave the person you are talking to with unanswered questions that will beg for a follow-up.

(3) Have a call to action

Encourage the people who you are speaking with to follow up with you. A call to action can be integrated into a variety of ways including the exchange of business cards, or some verbal phrase or saying that gets the attention of the person you are speaking with. Be upfront with what you are seeking, as this will let the other person know how they may assist you in the future.

(4) Be natural

As much as you may want to impress the person you are speaking with, don’t be overzealous. A person might get too caught up in the moment, and imply they have more experience in one area than they do. Later, they might then be called upon to use this skill. An example of this could be stating you were very familiar with a software program that a company uses. When in fact, you only have a basic understanding of this software program.

If all your skills aren’t to the standard you state they are, this will hurt your creditability and could get you into a sticky situation. Therefore, be natural and genuine with everything you say.

(5) Test yourself

There is always room for improvement when it comes to an individuals elevator pitch. Practice with people around you. Take in the suggestions given to you and practice some more. Practice makes perfect!

What strategies do you use in your elevator pitches?


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