Describing Yourself in 2 Minutes: The Elevator Pitch

by Mario Schulzke

Elevator Pitch

Just imagine yourself at a dinner, a sporting event or in an elevator standing next to the ultimate contact in your industry. Maybe it’s the vice president of a company you want to work at. You have just two minutes to give your best pitch and make a strong impression, but what do you say?

In order to figure out what your personal pitch is, you have to ask yourself some very important questions in order to develop a prepared response. Here are five tips to follow:

1) Prepare

The last thing you want is to blow this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so it’s important you properly prepare for this situation even if you think it’s unlikely to happen. Think about a short response that answers the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Things to keep in mind when answering this question: What occupation do you have? Where did you go to school? What did you major in? And never ever forget to mention your personal dreams and goals.

2) Give a Few Details

You don’t want to look caught off guard when you have the opportunity to talk to someone who could change your career. Don’t simply just say, “Hi, my name is John, and I work in finance.” Instead say, “Hi, my name is John, and I currently assist the senior director at ABC Financial Firm and handle client requests. My dream is to one day work as a senior financial analyst.” If you know your end goal now – or at least what you think is your end goal – you will come across as someone who has thought out what he or she wants. No one wants to help someone who is wishy-washy. Don’t forget that if they decide to give a recommendation for you, it’s also their name on the line.

3) Don’t be Cookie Cutter

Now that you have a response that communicates your name, what you do and where you see yourself going, it’s a good idea to add in some details that make you memorable. If you’re at a party or event, chances are the person you are dying to talk to has already talked to many other people. You definitely don’t want to be generic. Be sure you mention what you did at the company you work at and not just the name of your position. You want to sell your abilities, not those that the company you worked for had to offer.

4) Convey Passion

When you talk about something you love, an energy can surface that not only makes you super confident but also shows that you are someone who really loves what you do. A potential boss will not want to hire you if you seem “ho hum” about your job. Instead they want someone with energy and enthusiasm, and there’s no better way to show that than by telling them what you love about your industry and why.

5) People Help People

Yes, an elevator pitch is important. But when you walk away from the conversation, it is ok if they remember just one thing about you. More likely it’s not your current job or that some day you want to be a thought leader in your industry. People hire people and help people who they like. Your current job, while important, is not something that will set your apart. But your personality or your passion, or your quirkiness, or your persistence, are things that people will remember.

Keep in mind that even though opportunities like this don’t come along very often, you can handle them the right way – and shine – as long as you walk into it prepared. It’s like making a copy of your house or car key. Don’t let it sit on your “To Do” list and never get checked off. This is your life. Make sure you’re prepared for that situation you may never get again. And have faith in yourself. Confidence is the best way to stand out from the crowd.

Mario Schulzke is the creator of CareerSparx, an online course that helps recent college graduates begin their careers. For more information, download their free 61-page guide on how to start your career or check out the CareerSparx blog. When not helping recent graduates ignite their careers, Mario works as a senior director at WONGDOODY, curates IdeaMensch.com and is training for Ironman Switzerland.

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