The Job Seeker’s 30-Second Commercial
There are many places that a strong 30-second commercial, or elevator pitch, will help you land a job. A version of it could be included in a cover letter, certainly at networking events, when cold calling organizations, and when attending career fairs. A great 30-second commercial is typically delivered right after an introduction and is a forward thinking statement about what you can do, what you want to do, and the value you can bring to the organization.
As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and this is a great tool to help get started on the right foot. What better way to make a great case for your employability than to deliver an introduction about yourself completely tailored to the person you are speaking to? I realize that this methodology can’t be used in every situation, but it has opened many doors for my clients and me.
When meeting face-to-face, the first step is always to get the other person talking about herself. By asking open-ended, thought-provoking questions, you will get her to release information that may not normally be discussed that will help you, help her (thank you Jerry McGuire). Try to keep her talking for three to five minutes and make mental notes of the things she says that you may be able to assist her with professionally.
Now that you have learned what challenges or opportunities exist in her organization, you must take your standard 30-second commercial and tweak it to meet her organization’s needs. The general outline that I use is as follows:
I am a… (state who you are in a single sentence)
My strengths include… (describe your transferable skills and the type of work you can deliver…being sure to select the ones that apply to her business)
I have a… (include credentials and how they can be applied)
Most recently… (list recent accomplishments that support what you want to do)
I am now seeking… (provide a visual description of your ideal position)
I can be of immediate benefit to your company by… (list an opportunity that she disclosed, that the company has, and how you can bring it to fruition)
Hopefully, your elevator pitch will spark thought from her on how your knowledge, skills, and abilities may be able to benefit her or her organization. This will lead to a more in-depth conversation, similar to an interview, where you impress her with your previous accomplishments. Be sure to follow up regularly to continue to add value and to show how you can help her mitigate risk, make her money or save her money. Every organization that I know of is trying to do all three of those things at once.
It takes a human seven seconds to make an initial judgment about someone that they are meeting for the first time. It is your job to Wow! her with your physical presence first (i.e. firm hand shake, confidence, speaking clearly, smiling, eye contact, humility), but then to hit a home run and land your dream career with a tailored 30-second commercial that explicitly states what you can do for her.