If you use the same “elevator pitch” in every situation, I think you are making a huge mistake. Let me take this one step further…the old elevator pitch formula doesn’t cut it any more! You’ll need to use situational context and present it in a way that is engaging and other-focused! Oh, and it needs to be short and snappy!
Ditch the old formula…
with expertise in ___________________________
My background includes ____________________________
My unique qualifications are ________________________________
Yep, ditch it! It sounds and feels like an old-fashioned resume objective (which, by the way, you don’t use any more!)
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all job search, so you’ll need to customize how you answer the question “what do you do” based on who you are talking to and where you are when you meet them!
What’s the Situation
Personally, I love asking people what they do for a living! It helps me stay up to date and builds my knowledge of career options. And I’ve heard some doozies for a response to this question. Keep these three things in mind when before you blurt out your response:
Who is asking you this question?
Why do you think they want to know and what do they do? Gear your response so they can understand what you are talking about and will be interested in your answer.
Where are you?
Are you at a business function, networking event, backyard barbeque? Business is business, fun is fun! Keep this in mind.
What is your agenda?
What is it that you want this person to remember about you? NO, you don’t want them to remember that you are a job seeker! So don’t confess you are unemployed when you introduce yourself! First and foremost, I think you want them to know what problems you enjoy solving- think interesting and memorable!
No one cares about what you used to do
What I mean is, talking about your past company and job does not help anyone understand what you enjoy doing or what value you provide. They are not interviewing you, they are just curious.
“I used to work for XYZ Company as a Project Manager.”
Unless I know someone who works for XYZ Company, you haven’t provided much information to remember and I am probably not going to be interested in what you are saying. Plus it is past-tense. Not future oriented!
“I recently graduated and am seeking a job.”
This stinks too! Who cares that you recently graduated. What does that really tell someone anyway? 1. You have no work experience. 2. I still don’t know anything about what you enjoy doing!
Personal Brand Statements Are Much More Fun!
Jorgen Sundberg, The Undercover Recruiter, writes a lot about the personal brand statement and suggests your personal brand statement answers these three questions:
1. What problem do you solve
2. How you do it uniquely
3. Whom you do it for
Plus, you can read The 7 Rules of Effective Personal Brand Statements to refine yours!
I wrote Spice Up the Old Elevator Pitch back in 2009 and even though this was a loooong time ago, the basic benefits of having a good answer are the same!
You MUST have an answer ready! Practice it! Deliver it and gauge the results!
Share yours! Do you have a personal brand statement you would like to test out? Drop it in a comment! (Pssst: this can be good search engine juice!)