2017 Graduates: Have You Perfected Your Elevator Pitch?

It’s graduation time, and many are thinking about landing their first job. Even those entrenched in a career may be prompted by graduation season to think about their career paths and whether it’s time to consider a job switch.

We responded recently to a reporter’s query about creating “elevator pitches.” It’s an important concept for graduates, for those 30 years into their careers, and for any company or organization that has a key message to convey to a target audience.

We have long recognized the many similarities between managing a product brand and managing a personal brand. Part of that process is creating a succinct “mission statement” or “elevator pitch.” Both are one-line statements that clearly and concisely convey who you exist to serve and what you have to offer.

Here are our tips for creating an effective elevator pitch:

  • Start with a clear understanding of your target audience. Who do you wish to influence? For job seekers, the target audiences would be the company/job role they are seeking and the specific individual they will be interacting with, whether a hiring manager within a particular type of organization, a human resources representative or a recruiter.
  • Understand your competition. Who are you likely competing with for the positions you are interested in? You can gain some good information about who these competitors might be by doing an “advanced people search” on LinkedIn. This tool allows you to query within the geographic area of your job search and include key words related to the type of position you want or the background credentials your competition might have. Take a look at the resulting profiles to determine how you stack up against these competitors.
  • Determine what is important to your target audience. From a job seeker’s perspective, this might be ensuring a quality hire, ensuring a good cultural fit within the organization, etc.
  • Consider what you have to offer, who you are competing against, and what your target audience is looking for. Use these three things to craft a one-line statement. The statement should clearly convey what you have to offer in a way that is both benefit-oriented and meaningful to your target audience. We’ve created two examples for you: “I’m a business-to-business marketing professional with strong capabilities in analytics and content marketing,” or “My background as a record-breaking salesperson, combined with my experience in broadcast positions, suits me well for a career in public relations.”

The steps for creating an elevator pitch are the same steps you would take if you were attempting to sell a product or service. Both begin with a very clear understanding of who you wish to influence and they way you plan to influence them.

What’s your elevator pitch?

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