The Job Seeker Elevator Pitch
the elevator pitch is a concept that comes out of the world of
entrepreneurship, in truth it can be applied to a wide variety
of situations, including the job search. At some point in the process, every job seeker will be
confronted with a question along the lines of, "So tell me about
yourself." While how you answer this question won't make you, it
could very well break you.
The Importance of First Impressions
While it's nice to think that the world is a place of
measured judgments, where everyone is given equally complete
consideration, that's not how the real world works.
is that everybody's busy.
have too many things to do and too little time to get it all
done. As a result, instead of giving people the time and
consideration that some people think they deserve, people are
much more likely to rely on gut instincts and make up their
minds quickly because that gives them more time to spend on
everything else. That means when making a basic evaluation of
someone, people often make up their minds in 30 seconds and in
some cases as little as 6 seconds.
If you want to be able to survive and thrive in this world, you
have to deal with it as it is. That means dealing with the fact
that people often take remarkably little time to make very
developing an elevator pitch.
The Nine C's For Job Seekers
In my Elevator
Pitch 101 article, I talk about the Nine C's and talk about
them at a high level.
It turns out that these Nice C's are also relevant to job
seekers who need to create an elevator pitch.
You want to make it clear to prospective employers that you are a team player and will
get along well with others. One way to demonstrate that is with an
elevator pitch that is consistent with what
Bolles and Daniel Porot
call the 20-second and 2-minute rule. In essence, that means
making sure that your elevator pitch is neither so short as to
seem evasive nor so long as to make you appear self-centered.
Strong communication and organizational skills are two things
that pretty much every managerial job description asks for. One
way to establish early on that you are both a good communicator
and organized is with an elevator pitch that doesn't get into
too much unnecessary detail and that presents information in the
Given that in most cases an elevator pitch will come up
rather early on in the process, and while the audience is
probably more inclined to rule you out than to rule you in, you
need to make sure that the audience understands that you possess
some knowledge or skill that will help them solve the problems
they are facing. That should at least improve your odds of
getting to the next step in the process.
Your elevator pitch must give the audience a reason to
believe that you can do the job. That might include talking
about the dollars you have made or saved your previous
During your elevator pitch, you don't want to get into the specific, daily duties
of the jobs you have held. Instead, you should just talk about
your skills and the projects you have completed at a high level.
When talking about your accomplishments during your elevator
pitch, when you bring up numbers you want to be as specific as
possible because that will make your statements more believable.
If you want to decrease the time you spend on your job
search, you shouldn't put all of your eggs in one basket and
just prepare one specific elevator pitch for one specific job.
Instead, you should prepare different elevator pitches for the
different jobs for which you are qualified.
While you should customize your elevator pitch to the
requirement of the position for which you are applying at that
moment, if possible you should also make sure that your elevator
pitch is still applicable to a variety of different positions.
That way if you aren't a fit for that specific job, the
prospective employer will still consider you for other
The goal of an elevator pitch isn't to close the deal, and
get the job, then and there. Realistically speaking, that isn't going to happen. Instead, the goal of an elevator pitch is
to engage the audience and get to the next step in the process, which in
most cases is an interview.
About The Job Seeker Elevator Pitch
This essay is an excerpt from Elevator Pitch Essentials
for Job Seekers,
an upcoming book by Chris O'Leary that is a supplement to
Elevator Pitch Essentials
and that goes into further detail about how an elevator pitch
can help a job seeker, or anyone on a job search, achieve their goals.
About Chris O'Leary
Chris O'Leary is a writer, speaker, and consultant in the
fields of innovation, entrepreneurship, new product development,
sales, and marketing. His book Elevator Pitch Essentials
teaches teaches entrepreneurs, salespeople, project champions,
job seekers, and others how to get their point across in two
minutes or less.
E-mail Chris O'Leary if you would like to include
or quote from this
essay in an article, book, course packet, or other work that you are
This essay is Copyright © 2009 by Chris O'Leary. All rights
reserved. This essay may
not be copied, in part or in whole, on any other web site
or discussion board without the prior written permission of Chris O'Leary.