Frequently Asked Questions About the Elevator Pitch

Everyone who started out job searching has had to face the prospect of coming up with their elevator pitch. This guide will tell you how.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about an elevator pitch.

Q. What is an elevator pitch?

A. Quite simply an elevator pitch is a short description of what you can do and how this benefits others. Good elevator pitches last around 20-30 seconds and contain enough creativity and information to make them memorable. It used to be the traditional way business associates introduced themselves to one another and answered the question What do you do for a living? If all they had said was I am an (accountant, lawyer, consultant, or whatever) it only tells the listener what you are, not how you help others.

Q. What makes up a good elevator pitch ?

A. An elevator pitch is made up of the hook, deliverables and benefits. To create an elevator pitch you need to come up with each component separately and then weave them all together. As you got through creating each piece, resist the urge to make it sound polished until you have all three pieces and can wordsmith the whole pitch in one go.

Q. What is the hook?

A. The hook is a catch phrase whose sole purpose is to get someones attention. It is written in a way to grab the listeners attention, for example I turn the world green grabs your attention better than I am a gardener. Here are some other examples: Midwife – I bring life into this world, Nutritionist- I teach people how to behave in front of food, IRS Agent- I am a government fund-raiser or Pilot – I shrink the globe.

Q. What is the purpose of the hook ?

A. The hook is designed grab the listeners attention, begs the question how do you do that? and helps create a bridge to the next element.

Q. How do I go about creating my hook?

A. There are a number of ways you can approach this, our suggestion is to complete this sentence by filling-in-the-blanks:

I am the _____ (line of work you are in) that ______ (hook).

Q. What is the best follow up to the hook?

A. Once we have the hook we need to answer the how do you do that? question we had earlier. This is the deliverables piece and here are some examples: I facilitate off-site strategy development sessions for non-profits. or I develop brochures, annual reports and flyers for mid-sized companies. Or I specialize in writing ads for the banking industry.

Q. How do I create my deliverables sentence ?

A. Again there are quite a number of ways to approach this, and we suggest you come up with your own deliverable sentence by completing the fill-in-the-blanks sentence:

I ____________ (action verb followed by your deliverables) for the ____ (your target market).

Q. Do you have examples of benefit statements ?

A. Draw up a statement that covers the benefits of what you provide. To get your creative juices flowing here are some examples (accountant) I help companies stop overpaying on their taxes, or (marketing consultant) I help companies plan for growth, or (writer) I put a companies story into words.

Q. How do I create a benefits statement ?

A. Use this fill-in-the-blanks sentence to help structure your benefits statement:

I help ________ (audience types) with / to _________ (benefit).

Q. Will I need to polish and wordsmith my three statements?

A. You have probably noticed that when you read all three sentences together they are clunky and do not flow well. The last step is to polish the whole pitch so it sounds crisp, clear and flows easily. This is just a case of trial and error and you may find you come up with several possible elevator pitches.

Once you have your elevator pitch try them out at your next networking events, see how people react to them. You may find you will spend a few weeks trying out different versions before you find the one that works the best.

It is going to take a little effort and time to come up with a good elevator pitch, but once you have it, you will find it an invaluable tool in your job search In addition to creating a great first impression, it will be come a conversation starter, lets people know how they can best help you, and lastly gets you to focus your job search on what you are really looking for.