How To Craft The Perfect Elevator Pitch

Perhaps the most important part of any job interview is the first impression. Make a bad one and it can set you up for failure, make a good one and you will leave the interviewer thinking positively about you. But nerves can creep in causing you to freeze up, or, perhaps worse, start you talking a little bit too much, so how do you ensure you’re actually making a good impression?

Presenting yourself succinctly is something we’re not used to doing. In normal conversations we ramble on, talk with nuances and drift between topics. In a job interview you need to give concise sound bites that tell the employer precisely what they need to hear.

Talking to Business Insider, Paul McDonald a senior executive director at staffing firm Robert Half offers 8 key insights into how to craft the perfect elevator pitch.

  1. Know exactly what you want to achieve

You need to be able to tell your interviewer who you are, what you do, where you want to go and what you are looking for. There can’t be any uhming and ahhing here. Certainty is key. McDonald suggests going through your CV and LinkedIn profile with a fine-toothed comb.

  1.  Bullet points

To get to the core message, strip your CV back and write down four bullet points that perfectly summarise your work history, background, skills, accomplishments and goals. Ignore anything else, and make the language simple, straightforward and direct.

  1. Tell a story

“People love stories,” says McDonald. So tell them a story. And make sure it’s a good one. Telling someone a story that they can relate to or emotionally engage with will dramatically increase your recallability.

  1. Cut the jargon out

Jargon is almost always bad and, as far as I’m concerned, should be avoided in most situations, though certainly in an interview. Throw out those acronyms and buzzwords that used to float around your old office and explain things simply and effectively.

Taking complex ideas and making them easy to digest is a real art form, and McDonald suggests that imagining you’re explaining the idea to your parents is a good place to start.

  1. Invite conversation

Ensure that the story you’re telling invites the interviewee to ask you further questions. This doesn’t mean be purposefully obtuse, but be so engaging that they want further details.

  1. Time your pitch

Practise your pitch! And make sure it’s under 30 seconds. If not, you’re going on too long – cut out some of the detail and go again.

  1. Record a video

You may find it a little uncomfortable to talk to the camera (especially to watch yourself back), but try and act as natural as possible. Do you think you are interesting enough? Do you seem believable? Are there ticks or mannerisms that detract from what you’re saying?

Most importantly: you want to appear relaxed and comfortable, but not too relaxed or too comfortable. Find the fine line.

  1. Pitch to others

Borrow a few minutes of your friends’ or colleagues’ time and ask them for some honest feedback, and points that you can improve upon. Then keep practising and tweaking until the pitch flows naturally and feels convincing.


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