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Creating Your Personal Elevator Pitch

Two people discussing options in an elevator

Highlighting Your Successes


An elevator pitch. You need one. Stop taking steps to avoid it.

While traversing the job seeker market, it’s essential to be prepared to respond to the inevitable: “So, let’s start with you telling us a little bit about yourself.”

Some people can quickly go off the cuff, while others might stutter as if it’s the first time they’ve ever had to describe themselves to anyone. The term elevator pitch was coined in 1901 when people had to hoist themselves up on lifts to seek employment in industrial locations.

Just kidding. A quick search on the topic concludes that it’s merely a quick synopsis of what you’ve already written about yourself in your resume and cover letter. While networking or interviewing, your elevator pitch can be an impactful way to quickly describe your talents, proficiencies, and aspirations –all in the time it takes to take a quick elevator ride.

Guess what? You're in luck! We're here to help you through the … ahem … “ups and downs” of preparing your pitch.

First, try using a tailored method to create your answer. This ensures your response is as relevant to the hiring manager as possible, allowing you to speak to their needs and preferences while sharing details about your professional history.

Review the job description. Figure out what skills your hiring manager is seeking. Research information about the company, including its mission, values, and products or services. That way, you can talk about points that will pique the hiring manager’s interest right at the beginning of the meeting.

Then take a chronological approach. This is where your answer feels like a story. It allows you to highlight how you’ve grown in your career, spotlighting significant achievements. This approach keeps your answer compelling and makes the details easy to follow.

Here’s an example that will keep you on the ground floor:

Hi, I’m Chad, and I’m a behavioral therapist. Well, I’m not really a therapist, but I basically use a behavioral approach when I counsel people. I majored in Psychology in college. I didn’t actually graduate, but I’ve worked in the field for 20 years.

Why it doesn’t work:

You don’t come across as self-assured and are not effectively communicating accomplishments or motivations.

Here’s an example that will take you straight to the top:

Hi, I’m Kate, and I write for a living. It’s my passion. I’ve worked in marketing for 20 years and even started a life coaching company from scratch that became quite lucrative. Ultimately, I’m a storytelling entrepreneur with a lot of hutzpah and business acumen.

Why it works:

You’re being open, conversational, and interesting while touting your achievements and conveying your passion.

And that’s all there is to it! If you successfully master your technique, doors will open quickly and more readily than ever. The sky’s the limit!

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