Elevator Pitch For Job Seekers

I think anyone who has been in HR and/or Recruiting for about 27 minutes can give you an overview of what the typical ‘Elevator Pitch’ is from a normal candidate.  It does something like this:

“HI MY NAME IS TIM! (Way too fast and Way too excited and Way to desperate)” Followed by 1 minute and 47 seconds of them vomiting their resume all over you.

Would that be fairly active, HR and Recruiting Pros?

The problem with this from a job seekers point of view is this isn’t really what you want to do.  An elevator pitch is supposed to be used to get someone interested, not compress your resume into 2 minutes.  So, the bigger issue for job seekers is how do you make your elevator pitch interesting. Here are some ideas:

1. Don’t write it out.  You don’t want to recite something you’ve read.  You’re speaking – it has to sound like you are naturally speaking.

2. Use normal words anyone can understand.  So, what do you do? “I invigorate the youth of today to strive for greatness in everything they do.” Oh, so you’re a teacher.

3. Practice it out loud to a friend who will tell you that you suck. If you don’t have a really great friend like that, find one.

4. Say something that causes the person listening to you to respond.  “Do you ever have a time when you get really frustrated with your computer because it won’t do what you want it to do?” Yeah. “Well, I make programs that help you not get frustrated.”

So, what should an elevator pitch be? It should be a conversation starter.  Just enough for the person you are speaking with to want more, not to want to get off on the next floor and run.


4 thoughts on “Elevator Pitch For Job Seekers

  1. Oops my comment got submitted before I was done! What I was going to say was if the recruiter notices the job seeker is nervous they should to their best to try and put them at ease. Sometimes you can find good candidates this way, they might become a different person once they are calm.

  2. I think where Tim is headed is that many times job seekers take advice literally. After all the job search isn’t easy, it is stressful, emotional, and it sucks. Job seekers will take most advice their hear to heart so it is important if you are going to say “write out your elevator pitch” to also add “and remember this is for practicing at home not to bring with you”. I would add, “don’t worry so much about memorizing and just be yourself, be genuine and ask lots of questions. Make the job search about someone other than yourself”. I think it is also important if they sense

  3. Hi Tim, great article.

    Your advice is right on – the point is to get someone just interested enough to ask you more questions.

    I don’t agree with your #1 though. The best pitches, introductions, and question sets I’ve ever heard were written down early in the process. You may not want to start or end by writing it out, but writing it down is a great way to edit and make changes that you can then test and try out later. Certainly you should not be “reading” it and it should be conversational, but I think there is value to writing it out in the middle stages. Primarily I use this to edit – mostly cutting out words and simplifying language. You might say something initially that violates your #2 rule (use normal words) that when written out you can re-write in simpler and more normal words.

    I would also suggest anyone working on this read Made To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

    • Sean,

      I don’t disagree with the process of writing it down. Unfortunately, too many folks would write it down, them memorize the writing. That doesn’t flow naturally as spoken word. That is why I hesitate to recommend writing it down – because it sounds recited.

      Great comments,

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