If you don’t know what an elevator pitch is, it’s pretty simple to understand. It’s a short pitch about yourself that you should be able to tell someone in an elevator. And it should say enough about you for the person to remember you in a positive way.
Having this pitch ready is essential and will be useful when you go to a networking event or meet anyone who could potentially recommend or hire you. You will find the rules to master the elevator pitch in this article.
Find something personal to start your pitch: where you’re from, why you came to Canada, why you chose Vancouver… This little something might create a connection with the person who’s listening to you, and it’s an easy way for you to start talking.
Show your worth
Demonstrate what you could bring to a team or a company with a concrete example of one of your achievements, that should be linked to your professional objective like the one you have already developed in your resume. If you don’t have a work-related example, there are other solutions. For instance, if you are looking for a job that involves working in a team, you can talk about your success as a team player, showing your soft skills like: “I am a good team player. I have played basketball for 8 years”. Find something specific that will impress your interlocutor.
Here in Canada, the hiring process focuses on soft skills and personality. You have skills and you have used and shown them in different contexts. Think about your personal achievements, the qualities that helped you reach them and how they can transfer to the work context. They will be the examples that you will be using: talk about what you're familiar with.
Amazing or nothing!
Canadian people have a tendency to use a strong vocabulary in every kind of situation: don’t be surprised if you hear a recruiter tell you that it’s awesome that you worked in a café during summer! On the other hand, you might be asked during an interview to talk about a conflict that you experienced, when you would just call it a disagreement. North Americans love to hear about others’ achievements. If you can’t find anything you judge worth telling, show off your core values: “I love being part of something bigger than me” or “I love empowering people around me”.
Of course, to write and practice that elevator pitch, you'll have to do a little work on yourself. What are your strengths? Your main skills? What makes you different from the person sitting next to you? Those questions are all important and answering them will help you, not only for your elevator pitch but for your job search in general. Don’t hesitate to get inspiration from some examples to get you started.
Say what you want
Canadians love to help so they want to know how they can give a hand. Your elevator pitch should enable them to know where you stand and what you’re looking for: the company you are targeting, the job you're dreaming about… You think that being open to any kind of job or company is a strength that shows flexibility? Think again! The more precise you are, the more the person in front of you will be able to picture what you want and find a way to connect you to someone who can help.
It can feel uncomfortable to be precise and to take the risk that the person won't be able to help you, but should you fail to make them understand your search, they will just move on to the next subject.
Know your audience
Knowing who you are talking to will help you create a pitch that resonates within your interlocutor. When you go to a networking event, try to adapt your pitch according to the lexical field of the professionals who will be there. If you are an expert in nuclear power plants and are going to meet with someone from BC Hydro, stay on common grounds.
If you have a meeting planned with someone you want to impress, try to find out a little more about them: their hobbies, a sport they like… Social medias will help you figure out if you have a mutual centre of interest with the person you’re meeting.
Call to action
To make your elevator pitch useful, don’t forget to add a call to action. A call to action is something that you want the other person to do. It is a marketing term and you will find examples of that on every website, when they invite you to “follow” them, “like” them or “get a free trial” at the end of an article... In an elevator pitch, the same applies: you explain all about yourself and then make a move and request something from them.
Asking them right away for a job would feel awkward but there are other ways to reach this objective. You can start by asking them if they would like to share a coffee so that you can learn more about the company. If you feel more comfortable on the phone, offer to schedule a call, it gives the other person the perfect occasion to give you their business card and it shows that you are involved and ready to take action.
Another option is to simply ask them to connect through LinkedIn. This option is particularly useful if you haven’t understood precisely the person’s position or the purpose of their company. It will enable you to see more precisely what the person does and if you want to move forward. In that case, don’t forget to grab their business card to get their name properly spelled.
This call to action is the conclusion of your whole pitch. Make sure it suits your needs and fits with your professional objective.
This pitch is a short presentation of yourself, so it shouldn’t last more than 45 seconds. To ensure you don’t exceed those 45 seconds, practice it. It will help you get comfortable telling it, so you’ll be able to speak clearly when the time comes. Don’t hesitate to go to various networking events that have no stake for you to practice it and see if the people you are talking to seem interested. ConnectWORKING events are a good place to do that and get some feedback from people in a friendly atmosphere.
And don’t forget that you are telling a story: your story. The elevator pitch is your moment. Whoever is facing you will give you their full attention for a few seconds: make them count.
Give it a try and if you find yourself struggling with it, ask for a Face-to-Face. As a member, you can benefit from it for free, with one of our volunteers who can help you with it. It’s worth the membership cost in itself!