4 Tips for Crafting the Perfect Elevator Pitch

The only way to really stand out when networking is to have an interesting and memorable conversation. Here are some suggestions.

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By Heather R. Huhman

This story originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog

Imagine yourself as a recruiter at a networking event.

It's in a behemoth of a room and there are hundreds of eager job seekers clamoring for your attention.

You talk to person after person after person for hours at a time about a similar topic, getting handed resume after resume until they start to form an unmanageable stack of hopes and dreams.

Having a creative resume is great; but even if it's unique, it's still just another page in a stack that may not even get read.

The only way to really stand out when networking is to have an interesting and memorable conversation. And at an event with hundreds of competitive people waiting to talk to the same person, you have less than a minute to get your message across in a fashion that makes you stand out from the rest.

This 30- to 60-second speech, deemed an elevator pitch, is critical to networking efficiently.

So to stand out from the pack and advance in your career, here are four tips for helping you craft the perfect elevator pitch:

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1. Have a clear goal

The key to any successful elevator pitch is to have a concise goal that helps a potential connection learn what you want from them so they can better tailor the rest of the conversation to your needs.

For example, if your goal is to find a job and you're talking with a recruiter, explain exactly what kind of job you're looking for so they can give you more information specifically about that concentration, as well as let you know about any career opportunities their company may have for you.

2. Include a call-to-action

Having a goal is great, but if you want to follow up with a connection, a specific call-to-action is important. If you're looking for a job, asking a recruiter if they can speak with you further about the industry, their company, and any opportunities they may have; lets them know you're serious about getting a job, makes you stand out from the competition who simply asks for a business card. The call-to-action should be the very last thing you say in your elevator pitch.

Giving a specific time and place to meet up causes the recruiter to give you an answer on-the-spot which, if they agree, could mean everything in terms of building a strong relationship that could help you clinch your dream job. If you're hesitant to ask for a lunch/coffee meeting, just ask yourself: what have you got to lose?

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3. You are not a robot

Recruiters hear elevator pitches all the time, and many of them sound so similar, it's difficult for them to put a face to each one. When crafting your pitch, making it professional is important, but using down-to-earth language that reflects your personality gives potential connections a sense of who you are as a person.

Practicing your elevator pitch is critical, but people often start to sound robotic and unauthentic in an effort to recite it perfectly. Instead of memorizing your pitch like a script,have an outline and structure of what you're going to say and touch on each point. You may think you'll be too nervous to pull it off, but talking about yourself is much easier than you'd expect.

4. Don't make it about you

This may sound like strange advice, seeing as an elevator pitch is literally supposed to tell someone about yourself, but many people forget that networking isn't just a one-way street --hiring managers want to know what you have to offer their company.

Telling a recruiter you want a position at their company is one thing, but concisely explaining your experience and skills in a way that lets them know you can be an asset to their organization is something completely different.

Putting all the aforementioned tips together to create an effective elevator pitch lasting 30-60 seconds may have sounded impossible before, but putting a little time and effort into the structure and content of your pitch to make sure you're getting everything you need to get across will prove invaluable when making connections and establishing your network.

What other tips do you have for crafting the perfect elevator pitch?

Related: 4 Ways to Tell If Your Personal Brand Is in Danger

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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