A good elevator pitch is key to nailing interviews, opening heavy career doors and networking. All strong careerists have a unique pitch, and it’s important that you’re clear on yours. I recently did an internet scan on this topic, and I have to say that I am not impressed. Most of the articles are really missing the mark on many factors of the pitch, one in particular being age. Your answer to “tell me about yourself” is completely different as you progress in your career. For the purposes of my work, I’d like to share – chronologically—a few key components of the beloved pitch for millennials.
1. Share your story. If you’ve landed a job interview, chances are that you’re qualified for the job. Most employers do not enjoy using their resources for hiring (it’s tedious), so the interview is then just there for you to show them your personality. And what will set you apart? A quick story that’s related to your career interest and sheds light on who you are. Most employers hear all sorts of candidates’ backless claims about all sorts of important skillsets—being detail-oriented, intelligent, reliable, etc… So shake things up a bit when you get the usual, “tell me about yourself,” and share a brief life story that relates to your skills. Taking it to this level grabs the interviewer’s attention and sets you apart from the usual answer they get.
Here’s an example from a client who wanted to break into the corporate side of luxury hospitality: “I didn’t grow up in the lap of luxury, but my dad always collected Starwood points and allowed me to spend them all on one night at a hotel of my choice each year. I spent months researching hotels and would count down for the occasion…I became so enamored by luxury and beauty that I worked all sorts of jobs in hotels throughout my adolescence.”
2. Share your skill- the one that they really, really need.. Hiring managers will automatically enjoy your interview once you’ve launched the “tell me about you” with an amazing and honest story that sheds light on the natural development of your career interest. Now that they’re paying attention to your words, it’s time to focus on your skills and ability to contribute. This means you’ve done some homework on their organization and you can let them know how you can meet their needs or—even better—solve a problem that they have. Hint: It’s always more effective to share what other people have noticed about your skills… it shows the hiring manager that you’re noticed for your natural skills. If possible, speak in testimonials!
Here’s an example from the same client: “Now that I have my Bachelor’s degree in Business, as well as a few internship experiences in marketing, I’m ready to contribute to the vision of a cutting-edge hospitality brand. Throughout each of my work experiences, I was often told that I was a very detail-oriented and innovative employee, which I’d love to apply in my next role. In fact, I saw on your website that you’re advertising X. I looked at what your competition is doing, and I saw that they have this interesting campaign doing Y… If I joined the team, I’d look on how we could do something even stronger, such as Z.”
3. Share your goal. At this point, you’ve shown the hiring managers two things that make you very appealing:
a. The job is not just a job to you; it’s a critical part of your life purpose, or story.
b. You’re qualified, and you have a skill that they need.
What more do they need? A goal. This is the final step. If you’re in a networking environment, your goal should be a phrase that lets the person with whom you’re speaking learn how they could be helpful to you… Usually, it’s best to provide two “buckets,” or areas in which they can help you. Alternatively, if there’s a job on the table (ie. you’re in an interview), then the goal becomes to get the job. In other words, if you can talk about why you want to work for this company as opposed to any other, you’ll be one step ahead.
Hint: The company’s mission statement, client roster, press coverage, and corporate responsibility all serve as platforms you can use to speak about why they’re so special. Do your research!
Here’s an example once again from the same client: “I’m looking to take on a marketing role that allows me to constantly be challenged, learning and growing. I’d love to be a Marketing Director for a brand like yours someday, and I think it’s great to start here and learn everything that I can about it.”
BOOM. You’re in. Let me know how it goes!