Following on from yesterday's post about how to get the most out of a Job Fair, Jamie Starner has put together a template for you to develop your very own elevator speech! This is a short summary of your 'professional self' that you can use when you meet your next potential employer. So get prepared for your next Job Fair and read on...
Written by Jamie Starner, Career and Program Services Manager at Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, VCED, OES, GCDF
An “elevator speech” is a short summary of your “professional self” or what you do.
.This term reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes
The objective of the elevator speech is to briefly answer the questions "WHAT DO YOU DO?" (if introducing yourself in a networking scenario) or “TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF” (in a job interview) and to get the person you're speaking with to ask..."tell me more."
It is recommended that you prepare two versions of your elevator speech, as follows:
1. SHORTER 30-45 second version to answer the question “WHAT DO YOU DO?”
- This version can have the general form, "I do (nature of service) for (client) so that they can (benefit to the client)".
- If you are currently not working- it can be a short description of your interests, skills, and future goals.
2. LONGER 1-2 minute version to answer the question “TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF?”
- This is usually the opening question in an interview and it’s the perfect opportunity to show your enthusiasm and to briefly share your career highlights- NOT your life history.
- To answer this question, give a short snapshot of who you are and why you are the best candidate for the position (qualifications and experience). Be sure to include your strengths/abilities, education, work history, recent career experience and future goals.
- This is your chance to address all of the things you want the employer to know.
- Answer should not contain personal or negative information.
The following are general tips regarding Elevator Speeches:
· Practice your speech. Many experts suggest practicing in front of mirrors and role-playing with friends. Write and rewrite your speech, sharpening its focus and eliminating unnecessary words.
· Make your Elevator Speech sound effortless, conversational, and natural. Make it memorable and sincere.
· Be warm, friendly, confident, and enthusiastic. A smile is often the best way to show friendliness and enthusiasm, while a strong, firm voice the best way to express confidence. Do maintain eye contact with your listener.
· Take it slowly. Don't rush through the speech, and pause briefly between sentences. Breathe. Try to project your passion for what you do.
· Be easily understandable. Don't use jargon or corporate-speak.
· Practice, practice and practice so that you sound completely conversational.
· Be comfortable and familiar enough with your elevator speech that you can give it at a moment's notice, without hesitation, when someone asks, "What do you do?”
“TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF”
I am a… (One sentence that describes your current professional “hat”)
Some of my strengths/abilities/special interests are… (Further detail for the above statement)
My work experiences include…(Brief work history- list where you worked and what you did)
I have a… (Education and special knowledge)
Most recently… (“Flashes” about your most recent experience and accomplishments there)
I am now seeking… (Your current professional objective or goal)