By Dr. Howard Gauthier
You’ve prepared your resume, written a quality cover letter, but now the search committee has called and asked you to interview. Are you prepared? What happens if you’re asked a difficult question, are you prepared to answer the question without stumbling and saying a bunch of um’s and you know’s?
This is where your elevator speech comes in. You need to have a prepared spiel that you can use to answer nearly any interview question that is thrown at you. The elevator speech, also know as your sales pitch, is a necessity for every job seeker. It is a three part sales pitch that allows you to answer various questions without stumbling or bumbling.
Your elevator speech should be used in all of your correspondence, including your cover letter. It should be used when communicating with potential employers and in answering interview questions. Your elevator specch should be composed of three sections – a summary of your resume; a listing of your skills, abilities, and traits; and a description of your current situation. You should be able to recite the entire pitch in less than two minutes. The entire pitch will be used for answering questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Why should we hire you”.
Depending upon the question you are being asked, you could answer it with the entire pitch, or one of the three subsections. For example, if you are asked the question “What is your experience in working in this industry”, you would answer this question by reciting your first section, the summary of your resume. If you are asked the question “What are your strengths” or “How would your colleagues describe you”, you would answer these questions using your second section, a listing of your skills, abilities and traits. Finally, if you are asked the question “Why are you looking to leave your current position”, you would answer this by reciting your third section, your current situation.
As you create your elevator speech, always be positive in your response. If you are currently unemployed, do not say that you are unemployed because your previous boss is a jerk. Instead, be prepared for this question and develop an answer that sounds plausible in a neutral tone, and then transition into selling yourself using either your experiences in the industry or your skills and strengths. In other words, share your strengths and why they should hire you.
To create a great elevator speech you will want to consider the following three steps:
- Prepare a 30-60 second summary of your resume (your first section); another 20 second listing of your strengths, skills and abilities (your second section); and another a 10-20 second description of your current situation (your third section).
- Write out each section, and prepare reciting these sections like an actor would recite their lines in a play. Make sure that each section is smooth and flows nicely.
- Then merge all three sections together to make your overall elevator speech. Make sure all three sections flow smoothly together and they are written in a way that effectively sells you to the hiring manger.
Once you have created your elevator speech, practice reciting it with enthusiasm so you can deliver it with persuasion. To see examples of how to write an effective elevator speech, and how to recite your speech, check out the book Getting Hired in College Sports at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com. Ultimately, the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.sportscareersinstitute.com or his new book Execute for Success at www.ThePositiveLeader.org.
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- Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
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