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The Job Seeker Elevator Pitch

Link To The Elevator Pitch Essentials Home PageWhile 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.
     The problem is that everybody's busy.
     People 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 important decisions.
     That means 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.

1. Concise

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 career consultants Dick 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.

2. Clear

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 proper order.

3. Compelling

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.

4. Credible

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 employers.

5. Conceptual

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.

6. Concrete

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.

7. Customized

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.

8. Consistent

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 positions.

9. Conversational

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.

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Copyright Notice

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.

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