You’re stuck in an elevator with the CEO of your dream company. What do you say?
Sure, that may be the best possible scenario where you would need an elevator pitch handy. But you also want something ready when you meet someone new at a conference, while networking, during an interview, and for various other activities.
Practice makes perfect
PricewaterhouseCoopers offers the following tips to perfect your elevator pitch:
- Practice, practice, practice your self-introduction. The best pitches are natural (not canned), but prepared. When possible, practice your pitch in front of a trusted friend, family member or career services professional and tape yourself to see how you come across.
- Make sure your image matches your pitch. You need to dress professionally, but it’s okay to show some flair with a bright tie or a unique piece of jewelry. Do some research on the industry you want to join to learn what’s appropriate. No matter what, look neat (iron everything) and groomed.
- Smile. It’s simple, but a smile can go a long way towards making a good impression (and putting you at ease).
- Make direct eye contact with your listener. If your eyes are wandering or looking down, people will assume you’re distracted or not very interested in talking to them.
- Say your name clearly. It’s one of the most important elements you want your listener to remember.
- Be clear and concise. There’s no need to tell someone your life story. Highlight the most important elements of your personal brand (what you’re studying, your key experience, what you hope to do in the future) and then let the conversation flow from there.
- Show your passion. Recruiters consistently say that passion stands out. Let your enthusiasm shine through.
- Stop talking. After about 20 to 30 seconds, finish your introduction and let the other person speak. Listening skills are just as important as speaking skills.
To further their mission to educate individuals on differentiating themselves, PwC is holding an elevator pitch video contest for college students with a $5,000 cash prize.
What do you have to do to enter? Submit a video including your first name, major, and career aspiration/career goal (must be no longer than 30 seconds) through Facebook by March 25, 2011. See more on the official rules here.
Feel free to share your elevator pitch (or tips) in the comments below!
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.