So, Just What is a Good Elevator Speech – And Why Do You Need One???

Think of a good elevator pitch for job seekers as a 30-second explanation to a complete stranger of what you do (or what you would do amazingly well if given the opportunity) in language that’s clear, concise, and conversational. It’s an essential part of your professional brand, and yet often it’s one of the toughest things to come up with.How Long is an Elevator Pitch?
Based on the idea that you’re in an elevator with someone who asks you what you do and you’ve got the length of the elevator ride to dazzle them (or at least pique their interest), the best elevator pitch should focus not so much on what you do, but on the benefits of what you do for your employer, customers, patients, or perhaps clients.
Putting Together a Great Elevator Speech
As noted, you want your elevator speech to explain not just what you do, but also the benefits those skills provide. So, for example, your elevator pitch outline may start out with a statement similar to one of these:
  • \”I’m a nurse at the local VA hospital, and I use my nursing skills to work with veterans who’ve suffered spinal cord injuries to help them regain their independence.\”
  • \”I’m a programmer with a company that develops websites for online retailers, and I help clients translate their ideas into terrific purchase experiences for their customers.\”
  • \”I manage a great team of customer service reps for a cable telecommunications company that prides itself on placing in the top five customer satisfaction rankings every year.\”
  • \”I’m an HR specialist and I get to work with all of our new hires to make sure they’re successful in their new careers with our company.\”
  • \”I’m studying to get my associates’ degree in paralegal studies so I can get my dream job working with a law firm that specializes in environmental law.\”
  • \”I recently graduated with a degree in interactive media design, and I’m currently volunteering with the local high school art program while pursuing job openings with all of the different types of companies that need interactive media design.\”
Notice how each of these statements “positions” you to your fellow elevator rider:  you’ve expressed enthusiasm for what you do, you’ve indicated that you’re an engaged professional, and you’ve demonstrated that you’re sufficiently confident to be able to talk to a stranger.
In addition, each one of these elevator speech examples for college students gives your companion an opening to ask you more about what you do. It’s almost as if you’re providing the opening line of an interesting story. If you’ve expressed enthusiasm for your work (or potential work), people are likely to want to hear more, which gives you an opportunity to talk a bit more about your career and/or career aspirations (with the goal of demonstrating your value and contribution). If asked, you can give an example of something your skills enabled you to do that you’re really proud of, or think especially interesting.
Always Reciprocate – Ask Them What They Do!
This is the element of an elevator speech that people often fail to mention: always reciprocate! With genuine interest, ask them to tell you about their work or career.
This provides you with two benefits: 1) you don’t come across as a self-absorbed, boring jerk, and 2) it tells you whether this conversation might develop into a valuable professional connection for one or both of you.
Perhaps the Best Payoff of a Good Elevator Speech….
And just in case you’re wondering if working on a killer elevator speech is really worth the effort, keep in mind the other really important benefit you get from this: your folks/spouse/in-laws/kids will now have something they can tell people when asked what you’re up to!
For more information about programs designed to help you advance your career, contact the Admissions office at Bryant & Stratton College.
About the Author:
Acclaimed Career Coach, Kim Dority is a frequent presenter for Bryant & Stratton College Online. Dority is an information specialist, consultant, career coach, published author and adjunct professor at the University of Denver in Colorado. She has written extensively on career development for students and new graduates and is a frequent presenter, lecturer and panelist on career-related topics. Kim’s areas of expertise include professional branding, career transitions and career sustainability.

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