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The Elevator Speech: You’ve Heard About It, Now Perfect It

Posted by Pat Tovo

elevator pitch, what's in it for themIf you’re looking for a cyber security job you are probably getting tons of advice suggesting the most successful ways to go about your search. Listen to everything. Read a lot. Pull in all the information you can and then distill it into a solid approach that works for you.

Two of the things you’ll hear often are, “Networking is very important” and “Be sure to attend job fairs.” By the way, job fairs are networking events.

Both are very good pieces of advice. And to be effective at those two things you’ll need to develop a good elevator speech – a 20-30 second summary of who you are, what you do and why you’re a great candidate. This little nugget should be so practiced that you can pull it up quite naturally at an industry event, over drinks or yes, even in an elevator. You never know when you might meet someone who could be connected to your dream job or enhance your career.

To get you started on crafting your perfect pitch, here are steps to guide you:

Identify your target job

The first thing you should do is zero in on the job you want. Identify the position and isolate the type of company you want to work for. If you can’t communicate clearly what your job goal is nobody will be able to help you find it or hire you to do it.

Write it down

Make a list of what you would want a potential employer to know about your qualifications, experience, accomplishments and credentials. It should be a long list because your next task is to ruthlessly cross out everything that is not vital to your pitch.

Continue whittling down the list until you’ve landed on a few key elements. The objective here is to win a person’s interest and get them interested in knowing more. Play with the list until you’re sure you have shaped the core message.

Massage the format

A solid pitch will address three important points: Who you are, what you do, and what opportunity you’re seeking.

Here’s an example of starting a pitch with those fundamentals: “Hi, I’m Pam Smith. I’m a cyber analyst with a knack for finding vulnerabilities that others have missed. I’d like to take my three years of experience to the next level.”

This takes about 10 seconds leaving 10-20 remaining to address specific skills that would benefit her employer.

Shape the pitch to employers

Keep in mind that people listening to you will tune in more wholeheartedly if they hear what’s in it for them. Keep your words focused on benefits that communicate you have the goods. For example: “I developed software that blocked harmful viruses and saved the company over $1,000,000 in redevelopment costs.”

Exclude industry jargon

The speech needs to be inclusive and understandable by all potential audiences and not just those who are cyber security savvy. You never want to turn off a possible connection by making them feel uninformed.

Practice makes perfect

Words sound different when spoken than they might seem when written. Your pitch needs to come off as polished, confident and professional, not stiff and formal. Read it out loud. Use language you’re comfortable with. Practice until you can recite it naturally and enthusiastically. Though it is called a “speech” and a “pitch” it should sound like you are speaking off the cuff with ease and certainty.

Work on variations

You may want to deliver your speech differently to a recruiter at a job fair than you might to a former co-worker. There will also be times when you will have a shortened opportunity or can talk for a minute or two.

Again this is where practice becomes important. Master the main talking points and then think about ways to customize your pitch for certain situations. Refine and fine tune until you have variations to call upon.

Deliver it with confidence

You can craft the best elevator speech ever but it will fall flat if it’s not delivered well. When the opportunity presents itself, smile, look the other person in the eye, and deliver with self-assurance.

You know what? Once you’ve mastered that pitch and you might soon find yourself taking that elevator up to your dream job.

Pat Tovo guides job seekers in conducting successful employment searches through targeted prospecting, effective resume writing, and polished interviewing skills. She enjoys facilitating workshops and working one-on-one in career counseling.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 08, 2018 11:28 pm

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