Late last year, the Harvard Business Review published a Guide to Getting the Right Job, aimed at helping the reader navigate the ins and outs of their best job search. An excerpt within the Networking section talks about the importance of not only having an elevator speech, but making sure it's crisp and tailored. HBR points out that this may be the only amount of time available to connect with a hiring manager, recruiter. Ideally, you're able to deliver at any point in time, whether at a cocktail party, job interview or even in an elevator.
Most recently, I was challenged with this on a business trip to Chicago. Onsite at a major academic medical center to promote new program initiatives for healthcare professionals, I found myself quite literally in an elevator with a high-level cancer center executive. It was an unexpected, yet extremely welcome opportunity, and we're excited to be presenting there this year.
Some key elements of an effective elevator pitch include:
- Length - Keep it simple, ensuring it can be delivered within 15 seconds or less.
- Job Target - Clearly explain the type of position you'd like. If you're unsure, the person you're speaking with will be too.
- Format - Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for?
- Tailored to Them, Not You - Similar to a cover letter and resume, your pitch should be tweaked to the needs of each person with whom you interact.
- Tone - A conversational one that is not weighed down with too much complex industry jargon is best.
- Rehearsed - Practice, practice, practice! We cannot stress this enough. As with the mock interview process, the more you practice, the more comfortable you'll be with your pitch.
- Delivery - Maintain eye contact, be confident and speak with an upbeat tone
Be sure to check out our Looking for Work section, which includes invaluable resources like job search tools, videos and best practices for a job search in this up & down market.