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Is Your Elevator Speech Ready?

Posted January 22, 2013 by Terri Sjodin in Archive, Recommended Reading, Small Message Big Impact, The Elevator Speech

Hire MeHappy New Year! 

There have been several media ties linking the material from Small Message, Big Impact to landing a job in today’s competitive market. This article published via CareerWise discusses how having a prepared elevator speech can help you stand out amongst the crowd. For your convenience, we have inserted the article here for your review…

Article from CareerWise: Is Your Elevator Speech Ready?

By: Sheryl Silver

The first quarter of the year is generally a time when employers do a fair amount of hiring. It’s also a time when lots of people flood into the job market — and not just those without jobs. Think of all the employed Americans who make “changing jobs” a New Year’s resolution. They, too, tend to start job hunting during the first quarter of the year.

So many job hunters means even keener competition for available vacancies. That keener competition means you have to present your skills and ability to contribute to prospective employers with even more clarity, confidence, and conciseness.

Having a well-honed elevator speech to deliver is key to making a concise and confident first impression on prospective employers, says Terri Sjodin, founder of Sjodin Communications and author of the book Small Message, Big Impact: The Elevator Speech Effect.

According to Sjodin, “We’re all given unexpected opportunities and we need to be prepared to effectively convey our key message succinctly when those opportunities present themselves.”

Beyond having a message to present to employers you meet unexpectedly, Sjodin says elevator speeches also come in handy when a hiring manager with whom you have a scheduled appointment is suddenly called to a meeting —and instead of the 20-30 minute interview you anticipated, that hiring manager has only three minutes to spare.

“If someone has already crafted and rehearsed a brief elevator speech, that person can take advantage of those three minutes to interest the hiring manager in scheduling a longer meeting or follow-up telephone conversation,” said Sjodin.

“People often ask, ‘How can I stand out in today’s competitive job market?’ Having an elevator speech prepared is one way to stand out,” said Sjodin. “Interviewers typically want two or three points that differentiate you from other similarly qualified candidates. Can you save an organization money? Can you save it time? Can you improve its sanity by lowering the stress level in the department you manage? You want interviewers to see you as a potential asset to the organization and to convey that in a brief period of time.”

Beyond brevity, Sjodin explains that an elevator speech should highlight key skills and work accomplishments that will resonate with an employer. It’s akin to how job hunters should respond to the request: “Tell me about yourself,” often posed by hiring managers at the outset of job interviews.

“People often respond to that request by launching into a lengthy autobiographical statement,” said Sjodin. “But that’s not what employers really want to hear. What they want to know is how your experience and personal qualities have allowed you to contribute to the organizations where you’ve worked and how you believe they can be of value to that employer’s organization.”

“And frankly,” noted Sjodin, “if you don’t think about that ahead of time, if you use the ‘wing it’ method during the interview, it’s unlikely you’ll select the elements of your work experience and accomplishments most likely to resonate with that employer.”

That’s why Sjodin urges job hunters to not only think through what they’d say in a 1 ½ – 3 minute elevator speech, but to actually rehearse those remarks until they can deliver them with ease and confidence during a job interview or a chance meeting with an employer.

“If you don’t rehearse or practice at all, you have to hope and pray that the key points you need to make will come to mind just when you need them,” she said. “On the other hand, if you over-rehearse, you’ll sound canned and stiff.” Somewhere between unrehearsed and sounding over-rehearsed is the goal, said Sjodin.

Isn’t having a resume that summarizes your work experience enough to hand interested employers short on time?

Not according to Sjodin. “You can have a great resume that presents you well on paper but employers still want to hear from you how you overcame a particular work challenge or managed to bring a project in on time and under budget,” she said. “Being prepared to highlight such accomplishments in a succinct way is key to impressing prospective employers and distinguishing yourself from other candidates for the same job.”

So, now you know. When you’re done writing and proofreading your resume, your next job search task is drafting and rehearsing your elevator speech.

Keep in mind, too, after landing a new job, you can create an elevator speech about a non-profit you believe in to help you convince potential donors to donate to that cause. And if you’re in sales, creating an elevator speech highlighting the benefits of what you sell can interest prospective customers you meet by chance in scheduling meetings with you to learn more. As Sjodin’s book points out, the uses of elevator speeches are many, the potential benefits of using them immeasurable.


To order your copy of Small Message, Big Impact today, please click here.

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