You’re sitting in a cafe, sipping a freshly roasted cup of coffee while scraping the internet for relevant job listings. You’re getting discouraged with the monotony of the job-seeking process and find yourself wishing for an interview. Surely if a hiring manager met with you face to face, they’d see the tremendous potential you possess.
Then, it happens.
The president of your dream job walks up to the counter and orders a coffee to go. You’ve applied to work at her company a few times, but your application has yet to receive any traction.
What do you do with this chance encounter? You introduce yourself, and deliver the perfect elevator speech.
Granted, this perfect situation isn’t all that likely. But sometimes opportunity knocks when you least expect it. So, it’s important to have something prepared. Whether it is a chance run-in at a coffee shop or a company is offering on-the-spot interviews at a job fair, being able to quickly and succinctly sell yourself is a valuable skill to possess. Below we offer five tips that can help you craft that perfect elevator speech.
1. Differentiate Yourself
What makes you unique? Think beyond reciting your experience and your education and instead isolate a particular moment where you achieved something special. Write down a list of a few memorable moments and then select the best one to bring up if an opportunity arises. Then boil that moment down into a couple of sentences. It doesn’t matter how amazing your story is, if it takes you a few minutes to tell it, your listener will tune you out.
2. Make the Listener Care
The best way to engage the listener is to start with an attention-grabbing sentence. Your listener is a busy person. You need to prove that you’re worth their time. Include a quick detail about them or their company to demonstrate that your interest is sincere.
3. Leave Them Wanting More
Your primary goal with your elevator speech should be to intrigue your listener, and leave them wanting more. You want them to be thinking about you when they go back to their office, so they’ll want to help push your application or candidacy to the next level. Make your elevator speech succinct and clear, without giving away the farm. When it comes to length, brevity is your ally.
The axiom “practice makes perfect” is tremendously cliché, but also deservingly over said. Find a roommate, friend or coworker to practice your elevator speech with. They can provide you feedback about what is working as well as notes on what needs to be tweaked. Additionally, the more you practice your speech the easier it will be to recite fluidly when you deliver the real thing.
5. Record Your Speech On Video
Once you’ve prepped your speech and practiced aloud with someone, consider recording it on video. You don’t need to craft a cinematic masterpiece that would draw praise from Alfred Hitchcock. A simple webcam recording will suffice. Having it on video provides you with two valuable benefits:
1. It allows you to see it for yourself. Watching yourself recite your speech will provide you with an additional layer of critique.
2. Secondly, it gives you a copy to attach to your application. If you never get the opportunity to deliver your elevator speech in person, you can do so virtually. You can attach your recorded elevator speech either by attaching the video file or by linking to a YouTube or Vimeo link of your video in your cover letter. Hiring managers look at dozens of applications a day. If they see an application that has a video component, you’re going to draw their attention.
Whether you bump into an important decision maker while riding an elevator or at a cafe, job seekers should have a quick elevator speech ready to sell themselves in a pinch. You can craft a wonderful elevator speech by identifying a unique element about yourself, making the listener care about you, leaving the listener wanting to learn more about you, practicing aloud, and recording yourself on video.
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