Activate Your Elevator Pitch with a Focus on Solving Problems
Our career coaching team, Michelle Galbraith and Rachel Levy, recently presented a workshop to the WXW – Womens Exchange of Washtenaw County on how to develop an effective introduction or elevator pitch. This post shares some highlights from their presentation.
A clear introduction is an excellent tool for job seekers, career changers, and professionals to make a strong, relatable connection. Introducing oneself is a simple premise. But making an impactful introduction that carries your message forward is trickier. Your primary goal is to pique your audience’s interests so they want to ask questions and ultimately develop a connection.
We encourage our career coaching clients to tell their career stories in a coherent way. With a clear message, others can understand your value and won’t need to guess how you’ll improve a given company or profession or even wonder about the type of work you do. The more direct the introduction, the better the listener will understand who you are and what you have to offer. We hope that all job seekers will consider how the words they use to introduce themselves shape the networking and professional opportunities they receive.
To guide our clients, the Amy Cell Talent team favors a framework that allows jobseekers to fill in the blanks, Mad-Libs style, to draft an introduction. This template, adapted from Elliot Loh, uses a problem-solution formulation to engage the listener by highlighting a unique solution to a problem faced by their target audience, client, or customer:
“Hello, my name is (insert name).
I solve (problem or issue)
by providing (advantage/skills)
to help (audience/client/customer)
accomplish (audience’s goal).”
In this template, we encourage job seekers to be strategic about which skills to highlight and to adapt the introduction to meet the needs of the person with whom you’re speaking. While this formulation may feel awkward at first, know that it will evolve as you finesse it. This is a starting point to articulate your unique value and the Amy Cell Talent team believes it will allow you to showcase the problems that you solve better than anyone else.
As you refine your introduction, outline how your work addresses pain points or challenges of your target audience to highlight your best skills. Include your relevant, transferable skills, whether technical, leadership, or management focused. Your introduction should illustrate the impact your target audience will experience after working with you. For example: their accounting system becomes cleaner, their processes are streamlined, their website is easier to update, or they generate more sales. Be ready with an example of an actual situation should someone ask.
Then, include a description of what makes you the best candidate for a particular role or type of work. Perhaps it’s your unique experience, professional training, or leadership style. To brainstorm ideas, consider how colleagues, mentors, customers, and friends describe your particular skills. Your goal is to convey what differentiates you from other candidates or peers and explain why you are a critical hire. Be clear about what you bring to a role and how your approach benefits those around you.
Once you’ve completed your first draft, review it. Ask yourself, if someone remembers only one thing about me, what should it be? If that key takeaway isn’t clear from the introduction, revise it.
Continue to adapt the introduction to reflect your voice. As you practice it aloud, you’ll refine your language and message until it flows naturally. We often recommend that clients record themselves making their pitch in order to replay the message and memorize it. As your skills and career evolve, remember to update your elevator pitch.
Our team is delighted to offer a new opportunity for jobseekers to connect, build confidence for networking, and help similarly situated professionals at Career Connections and Coffee, October 22nd. To learn more about working with an Amy Cell Talent career coach to develop your job search strategy, please visit our Career Coaching & Job Search Assistance webpage.