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Imagine getting on the elevator in the lobby where you work. To your surprise, the CEO steps into the elevator as the doors begin to close. What do you do? Put your head down? Throw on your invisibility cloak? Or do something even more crazy like… speak?

Sometimes we create an opportunity for career growth, like successfully getting an interview for a job. Other times an opportunity might present itself unexpectedly, like someone important to our career stepping onto an elevator as we ride to the 8th floor together.

Either way, being prepared is key. One great way to do just that is to get your “elevator pitch” ready so you have something to share that is concise and sparks interest in your background. Here are three easy ways to get started (and some real client examples):

  1. Write down what you do. Write 5-10 sentences describing what you do. Don’t get hung up on fancy edits. Rather, simply write down what you do and capture what comes to mind. For example, if you are a recruiter, you might write: “I scan resumes to find great people to fill vacant positions within my organization so that we have the best talent compared to our competitors” or “I present qualified candidates to hiring managers after identifying candidates from sourcing methods such as top-rated job boards, employee referrals and looking through our internal applicant tracking system.” You get the idea – keep going!
  2. Bring your pitch to life. Look for descriptive words and action words in your sentences. In particular, look for the words that sound like you. Your action words create a visual and tell your story. Using words that sound like you, instead of fancy words or industry jargon, will make you sound more authentic. Let’s bring the recruiter’s pitch above to life and look at the words more closely. “Scan” is an action word that one can visualize, but it’s not very interesting. Neither is “to fill vacant positions within my organization.” Consider this instead: “I identify and recruit top talent using a diversified approach to sourcing applicants, which includes collaborating with hiring managers and employees on finding and retaining the best talent and giving my organization the competitive advantage.” This pitch uses powerful words that create a visual (e.g. identifying, diversified, sourcing, collaborating). It also captures the fact that the recruiter works with employees too as a source for finding great candidates. Lastly, it touches on bringing a diversified approach to recruiting, and ends with the competitive advantage the organization has due to hiring the best.
  3. Practice your pitch. Once you have a pitch, or even if you have a few you like, immediately being practicing. Once you start practicing and trying out your pitches you will quickly discover what feels comfortable, where you might need to make some tweaks, and how to strengthen the delivery of your pitch. Try practicing your pitch initially with one or several people you trust. While it might feel awkward at first, your trusted audience will give you honest feedback on length, clarity, and whether or not it depicts you well.

A pitch is a great go-to tool for networking, interviewing, and when finding yourself on an actual elevator with 30 seconds to impress. Create your winning pitch today, and check out some sample pitches below – including one of mine!

“I’m an Emmy nominated filmmaker and former director of video production at National Geographic magazine with expertise in multimedia journalism, animation, social media, and documentary television. I specialize in making complex topics accessible (particularly science and natural history) to a wide audience.” www.hansweise.com

“I build and implement service delivery infrastructures that maximize operational efficiencies and produce more profitable business outcomes.” – IT Delivery Manager

“I create foundations for lifelong success for children ages 3 and 4 by teaching them to learn through play, and balancing that with a structured curriculum. I am known for bringing nature into my teaching curriculum and enhancing fine motor skills through cooking.” – Montessori Preschool Teacher

“I empower people to take charge of their careers and bring their authentic selves to what they do for a living and enjoy greater professional and personal satisfaction.” – Ellen Dunagan, President Traverse Career Solutions


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