sell yourself with the perfect elevator pitch

Have you got an elevator pitch? Having one makes it easier for you to answer the dreaded ‘tell me about yourself’ question in interviews. This article features best practice advice for perfecting your pitch.

‘Tell me about yourself’ is most probably the one interview question we all dread being asked. But unfortunately, it’s inevitable it will crop up at some point during the recruitment process. The best way to tackle this key question is to prepare for it. And the most effective way of doing that is to perfect your elevator pitch. 

what is an elevator pitch? 

They’re an executive summary, 60 seconds or fewer, you can use to sell yourself. Elevator pitches are one of the most simple, yet powerful tools for any professional. The most effective pitches answer the following three questions: 

  • Who are you? 
  • What do you do? 
  • What do you want? 

The overall aim is to create an interesting, memorable and succinct pitch that clearly explains what makes you unique and how you can add value.  

“Would I have got there without caba's help? Perhaps, but I can definitely say that caba helped me to get there faster and with more confidence. Having the professional support to formulate my own ideas was an exceptional experience. If you're ready to take the next step in your career, I would definitely recommend accessing caba.”

Rob

caba client

the best elevator pitches always cover: 

who you are 

Start by capturing the listener’s attention so they are eager to learn more. Remember, the people listening to your pitch will be thinking ‘What’s in it for me?’ It’s crucial you make your pitch relevant to them. Tailor your message to their needs before you start talking about yourself. 

When it comes to crafting your pitch, use language that everybody in the room understands. Steer clear of jargon and abbreviations. 

For example: ‘I’m an experienced accountant with a thorough understanding of the modern accountancy world and systems that are used, such as........’ 

what you do 

Describe what you do without relying on your job title. The person you’re delivering your pitch to may not be an expert in your field. For instance, saying ‘I’m an accountant’ becomes much stronger and clearer when you also reference what your work involves. Including some practical, everyday examples of your roles and responsibilities is a really effective way of evidencing your capabilities. 

Always deliver your pitch with enthusiasm. If you don’t sound interested in what you are saying, it can be difficult for other people to be interested in what you have to say. 

why you are unique  

What are your Unique Selling Points (USPs)? Focus on the qualities that only you have, that can benefit your potential employer. 

what you want 

If you’re using your elevator pitch within a job interview, your end goal is to get the job. Explain the value you can bring to the company and be clear about what you could offer them if they appoint you. 

what the next step is 

You should round off your pitch by saying what you would like the next step to be. Alternatively, you can use your call to action to reinforce the fact you’ve fully answered a question. If you are ending with a next step suggestion, keep it simple.  

For example: ‘I’d love to be able to progress to the next interview stage’ or ‘I could give you a quick presentation that shows my understanding of X, Y, Z.’ 

“The career coaching was as much about confidence as anything. I needed an honest assessment, to work out whether my future was as a chartered accountant or not. It soon became clear that although I wasn't a good fit with the company, I actually have some very accomplished skills and abilities. Together we built my confidence and I decided to stay in the industry and use my training and experience.”

Heather

caba client

some further top tips for perfecting your elevator pitch 

  • Act naturally – you may be nervous, but where possible, speak naturally. While it’s ok to memorise your pitch, it’s important you don’t sound robotic when it comes to applying it to interview questions or simply saying it out loud. 
  • Pace yourself – it can be easy to say things in a hurry because you want your interview to be over with, but it can mean your key selling points are overlooked. Breathe and speak at a steady speed, and don’t worry about pausing. A pause here and there can really grab people’s attention. 
  • Sound confident – at the end of the day, your pitch is your sales tool, so it’s important you sound as though you believe in yourself, regardless of how nervous you may be. Delivering it with confidence is a guaranteed way of making people sit up and listen and consider you for the role. 
  • Deliver online – virtual interviews are increasingly the norm, so be prepared to give your pitch online. Placing prompt notes around your screen will help make sure you cover everything. Good lighting, a clutter-free background and smart appearance are also key. 

What sort of state is your elevator pitch in? Is it in need of some refinement? Or perhaps you’re yet to create one? Either way, the advice above will help prepare you for that ‘tell me about yourself’ moment. One last tip – don’t forget you can use your elevator pitch as the basis for the cover letters you send with your CV. 

how caba can help you find work 

Our career coaches are here to help you develop a career plan that helps improve your confidence and networking skills, creates an effective job search strategy, builds a winning CV and transforms your interview skills. 

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