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75 words are all you need for career success

If you don’t have a professional elevator speech at the ready, consider these tips for creating one.

75 words are all you need for career success

75 Words Are All You Need For Career Success

Imagine you’re at a professional conference for your field or a seminar on a topic important to your future career, says Day Merrill, founder and principal of 2BDetermined. “You have the chance to introduce yourself and tell people something about who you are, what you’re all about and where you’re headed.” What will you say?
 
If you’ve prepared your professional elevator speech, you’ll know. This approximately 75-word distillation of your personal brand lets people know who you are and what you do quickly. And it’s not just for elevators.

“A solid elevator speech can be used for brief introductions on the fly, your opening statement in formal informational interviews and a consistent answer to the typical interview question ‘Tell me about yourself,’” Merrill says. If you don’t have a professional elevator speech at the ready, consider these tips for creating one.

Keep it short

“A common myth is that the pitch should be less than 30 seconds,” says Dan Adler, who as founder of Wink Beds makes all the personnel decisions for the company. “By keeping it short, you maintain the listener's attention and subconsciously invite him or her to ask for more information.”

Find something that makes you stand out
 
Standing out is the whole point of an elevator pitch, so identify what makes you and your experience unique. “The key here is to make yourself memorable and to stand out, so it's OK to think a little outside the box,” Adler says. “Always err on the side of less information. For example, ‘I led my last company in sales during Q1 and Q3.’”

Don’t give it all away
 
Your elevator pitch doesn’t have to tell the listener everything, says Jon Harrison, personal branding consultant at ClassicallyTrained.net. “You actually want them to ask you questions to extend the conversation,” he says.

Make a connection

“What a lot of job seekers forget to do in their elevator pitch is to ask a question of the listener,” Harrison says. “With a little creativity, you can make any past experience intriguing and still honest.” For a job in a warehouse, for example, he suggests saying, "Have you ever enjoyed a delicious garlic spread on a warm piece of toast? It was my job to make sure that spread was perfectly mixed and safely packed for you to enjoy.”

Highlight pain and solve problems
 
Elevator pitches highlight the benefit of your service and remind people of the pain they have without your service, says career coach Laura Lee Rose. “Your elevator pitch should highlight the benefits of your services more than the details of what you do, and should remind people of the pain they are experiencing without your service.”
 
Rose suggests using this formula:
 
Hi, my name is (your name) and I am a (what you do). I help (description of your target client, job or employer) (description of what you do) so that they (how you can help them fill a need) even if they (obstacles or reasons they avoided doing it in the past) At the end of the day, I (tagline or summary of what you really do for them).
 
It ends up looking like this:
 
“Hi, my name is Laura Lee Rose and I am a speaker and author. I am an expert in time and project management. I help busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable and have time to enjoy life even if they don’t have time to learn new technology or train their staff. I have a knack for turning big ideas into on-time, profitable projects. At the end of the day, I give people peace of mind.”