April 29, 2015
By Pamela Berns and Tamanna Virmani
For most of us finding a job can be tougher than doing the actual job. We can find it hard just talking about ourselves, no less selling ourselves to others. And first impressions are lasting impressions that can end up having a greater impact on your prospects than your resume or interview. That’s why it’s so important to learn and understand the tools of the trade – like crafting the perfect elevator pitch.
In April, current and future job seekers gathered to get some words of wisdom from veteran energy professional and sustainability career expert Andy Padian on how to successfully deliver an elevator pitch—a quick professional introduction that will convince a potential employer or client to listen to your whole story.
During Andy’s fast-paced and highly interactive workshop, participants received a number of tools to put into their toolkits. Each participant was asked (at random) to quickly deliver a mock pitch. Andy gave pointed feedback (and kudos) and engaged participants in sharing their reactions to each other’s pitches. Here are some strategies that were covered:
Be sure to state your full name, first and last.
Give a firm handshake, so you look and feel confident.
State the following, in one sentence each:
Who you are
What you do
What you know about the company
What you want to do for the company
Be very clear on what the company does. And research not just the company but also the person you are meeting. Whenever possible, look up the interviewer and the company on Linkedin and Google.
Don’t just talk about how great you are; tell them what you can do for them. Use language like, “I can bring…to your team” or” I can contribute to your…”
Be careful about saying you have deep knowledge or experience about something if you are really only familiar with it. Otherwise you’ll invite questions you won’t be able to answer. For example, if you say you have a passion for water, be ready to answer all questions water–related – latest technology, certification, etc.
Be aware of the company’s point of view and use the appropriate language. For example, some companies don’t like the word “green.”
If you are transitioning from another field, connect your relevant experience to the potential employer or client needs. For example, if you have been in risk management, talk about how important it is to evaluate risk in sustainability efforts. Also, include volunteer activities that show your passion for the new field.
Whether you’re a job seeker or an entrepreneur seeking new business, having a good elevator pitch is your first step toward getting in the door. The more your practice it, the more confident and convincing you’ll be when you meet someone for the first time. And that’s an invaluable tool.