60-Second Networking: 3 Elevator Speeches for the Job Hunt

The elevator pitch — everybody says you should have one when you’re on the job hunt. But what exactly are you supposed to say to make it memorable and effective for networking and job search purposes?

At the one moment when your words matter most, it’s easy to get tongue-tied. The best way to overcome nervousness is to plan your elevator speech and practice until you can deliver it effortlessly.

Before you craft the perfect pitch, tailor it to your current job hunt. Analyze the type of role you’d like to occupy and the type of company that would be your ideal employer. Then, consider these three elevator speech examples the next time someone asks, “What do you do?”

Just remember that while it’s called an “elevator speech,” you’re most likely not going to be in an actual elevator when you need to use it. You may be at a conference, a networking event, a Sunday barbecue or even chatting online when the “What do you do?” question comes up. Prepare now so you won’t be left speechless when it does.

Elevator speech example 1: Explain your benefits

The benefits-focused elevator speech sounds something like this: “I do X for Y to achieve Z.”

All you need to do is fill in the blanks. How you fill them in depends on your career and the type of role you want. Just make sure you’ve crafted the pitch so that the benefit, Z, sounds as compelling as possible.

So, a senior accountant talking to a chief financial officer might say, “I oversee the accounts of medium-size retailers to give them the information they need to make good business decisions.”

Elevator speech example 2: Tell your story

The storytelling elevator speech is most useful for people who are actively looking for a new role. This speech is delivered in three concise acts: What you did, what you’re doing now and what you want to do next. Use each act to express your most relevant professional experience and ambitions in the context of how they relate to your job hunt.

For example, a medical data specialist might say, “I’ve worked in IT since graduating with a degree in computer science. Most recently, I wrapped up a contract as a senior data analyst with a big bioinformatics company. I’m now looking for opportunities with another large medical data company.”


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Elevator speech example 3: Target your market

One thing you’ll want to include in your pitch is a clear message about the job market niche that interests you. In the first example above, the target niche was “accounts” in “medium-size retailers.” In the second example, it was “data analyst” and a “large medical data company.”

To bring your target market to the forefront of your elevator pitch, try this example: “I work with Y organizations by doing X to achieve Z.” So, a graphic designer might say, “I work with children’s clothing designers by creating original graphics to make their marketing programs more effective.”

Once you’ve prepared your 60-second speech around the role and company profiles you want to target, you can simply update your elevator pitch when needed. That way, you’ll always be ready to make a good impression, expand your networking opportunities and, eventually, bring your job hunt to a successful ending.

Stay motivated on the job hunt with these inspirational career quotes from Robert Half.

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