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Five ways to perfect your elevator pitch

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

You never know when your chance to shine will come, which is why everyone should have an elevator pitch to hand. What does this mean? Well, imagine you’ve stepped into a lift with the hiring manager at your dream place of work. You’ve only got 30 seconds before you reach the second floor, so what can you say in order to make a connection? In reality, it’s unlikely that you’ll come across this situation, but the concept still applies. Whether you’re networking or in an interview situation, it’s incredibly handy to be able to sell yourself by summarising your key stand-out skills – here’s how.

Be relatable

You may be speaking to someone, but do you have their full attention? To really engage with people, you need to be relatable, so when you’re networking, look for what you have in common. Have you studied at the same college? Do you have a mutual acquaintance or share the same commute? Start your elevator pitch by mentioning something which will help you build a relationship with people. When you don’t have a lot of time, it can be tempting to jump in with a sales pitch, however it’s important to demonstrate an interest in others – and by doing so, you’re showing that you value their opinion.

Know your unique selling points

You’ve secured an opportunity to pitch yourself, and now it’s time to address the nitty gritty details of who you are. An elevator pitch is not a CV, so keep things short and try to define yourself in a simple sentence. To do this, you’ll need to know your unique selling points. Try to think about what makes you stand out from other Candidates. Draw on the strengths and talents you’ve developed over your working life in order to show what you can bring to the table. Remember, it’s not just about what you do, it’s how you do it. Have you proved your ability to manage a challenging situation, take on responsibility within a team or win clients? Use these real-life examples to sum up why you’re so good at what you do.

How can you solve pain points?

If you really want to capture someone’s attention, you’ll need to demonstrate how you can solve their biggest pain points. Whether you’re a website developer with a talent for interface design or a great marketer full of creative ideas, think about how you can use these skills to tackle challenges head-on. Within your elevator pitch, you should tell a story which shows how you can take a company on a journey from painful to pain-free. The best Candidates are those who can understand how things work, and make themselves invaluable by suggesting innovative, genuine solutions, so paint a picture and don’t be afraid to use emotive language so that your passion for your job comes across.

Have multiple pitches

Whether you’re speaking to a recruiter, a hiring manager, or the manager of a company you’d love to work for, there’s never a one size fits all situation. As you’ll have realised by now, your elevator pitch is as much about the person you’re speaking to as the skills you have to offer. In a job interview, you could be speaking to your prospective supervisor, the department manager or Employees from other departments – each of these will have different priorities. Before you head in to meet them, find out about them and what their interests are. Stay prepared by working on a number of interchangeable pitches, so that you can swap and change as appropriate.

Practice, practice, practice

When you’re using your elevator pitch to sell your unique skillset, it needs to come across in a natural, conversational way. To do this, you should practice until you feel confident in recognising the right time to speak to people and conveying your goals in a calm, professional manner. Use interview and networking opportunities to polish your approach, noting peoples’ reactions, as well as what works well and what doesn’t. Above all, don’t be afraid to give things a go. If you’re genuinely passionate and knowledgeable about your subject, this will invariably come across with any real effort.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.

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