How to Introduce Yourself Professionally

How to Create an Elevator Pitch

 

If you’ve ever been to a networking event or professional conference, you’ve probably heard this (sometimes dreaded) greeting:

Tell me about yourself.

It’s more than a common query asked in casual professional settings like industry happy hours and mixers. It’s also one of the top things people are asked in a job interview during the hiring process.

These four little words can be daunting. How do you summarize your career, professional achievements and goals in just a few minutes? Especially if you’ve been working for years or decades?

Your elevator pitch is typically the first professional impression you can make when you meet someone face-to-face. Here are some tips for making a memorable, positive impact.

1. First, Organize Your Thoughts

Chances are good someone in your professional sphere is going to ask you to tell them about yourself. Be prepared. Pull out a pen and paper, or open up a word document, and organize your thoughts.

Jot down:

  • A summary of your background: Where are you from? Where did you go to school last? What has your employment history been like? What are your hobbies and interests?
  • What you’re doing now: What’s your current position? Who’s your current employer? What are your typical daily job duties like?
  • What your career goals are: Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 and 20 years? What steps do you envision taking to get there? What’s your dream position, and why?

Answers to these questions will clarify what you’ve done so far, what your work looks like today and where you see yourself going. You may not share all these details in every single elevator pitch or interview, but you’ll be aware of what you could share when it’s relevant to the person you’re talking to.

2. Write Out an Elevator Pitch

Writing out an elevator pitch gives you a clear idea of what you could actually say to someone if they ask to learn about you. You could use a simple formula to craft your pitch:

Present-Past-Future

Grab attention with what you currently do. Provide some information on what led you there. Wrap up with saying what your goals are.

Here’s how to do it: Begin with a brief overview of where you are now. This can include your current job, along with a reference to a passion or personal hobby.

Reference how you got to where you are now. Here, you could mention your education, or an important experience, such as a past job, internship or volunteer experience.

Conclude by touching on a goal for the future. Wrap up by explaining why you think what you’re currently working will help you get there. If you’re in a job interview, you might explain how the position you’re applying for aligns with how you envision your future.

If you’re going out on interviews, you might look at your notes you took in step #1 and create a unique elevator pitch for each interview you’re going on. That way, it will relate to that specific role and company and can be personalized while you tie your personal experience and goals.

You’ll want your pitch to be concise but impactful. Aim for around a couple paragraphs, or around a minute of speaking.

You’ll want to maintain attention, keep the listener interested, touch on your most important points and have the pitch lead to a bigger conversation.

3. Practice Your Pitch

Talking to anyone, even in a one-on-one setting, can be nerve-wracking. Public speaking fears impact as much as 77% of the population. When you’re talking with someone you’ve just met, similar fears to public speaking may creep up.

Even when you’re totally confident, you want to ensure your elevator pitch covers important topics and creates a positive connection with whomever you’re speaking to.

Practice reading your pitch out loud. Time yourself to make sure your pitch isn’t too short or too long.

Ideally, it’s helpful to practice it with another person who you trust to give you good feedback. Ask the person:

  • If you seemed nervous or confident
  • What impacted them most about your content
  • What questions that were lingering from your pitch
  • What they thought of the length of your pitch
  • What details they think would be OK to omit or that you should add

You could get professional interview preparation to get insights based on industry best practices. An interview coach can help you craft an elevator pitch and help you practice it so you’re prepared to give it in a variety of settings.

4. Focus on Forming Relationships

While an elevator pitch is a way to professionally introduce yourself, networking and interviewing for jobs are all about relationship-building.

For any elevator pitch you give, you should conclude your pitch by creating a conversation. Consider:

  • What your goals are with the pitch and what next steps you want to take with the person you’re speaking with
  • How the content in your pitch can help the person you’re speaking with and what you’re able to offer in a professional relationship
  • What you’d like to learn from the other person and what questions you have for them

If you’re meeting someone at a networking event, you can end your pitch by asking them to tell you about themselves, as well. If they already have, you can conclude your pitch by pointing out a common connection you have. Or, ask a question that interests you.

If you’re giving your pitch in a job interview, tie up your pitch by explaining how who you professionally can contribute to their company and help their business succeed. Point out why your experience is a perfect fit for their operations and culture.

Again, practice is key. It’s helpful to practice your pitch in a variety of scenarios, so you’ll feel confident giving it and building a professional relationship off of it, whether you’re in a job interview or meeting someone more casually.

Be Prepared with an Effective Elevator Pitch

You never know when meeting someone can lead to your next big career move. A simple chance encounter (yes, even in an elevator) could lead to a job opportunity that helps you achieve your career dreams.

Wherever you are in your career, it’s helpful to be prepared to give an elevator pitch that clearly explains who you are, highlights the value you bring and helps you reach your career goals.

If you’re interested in interview coaching or want to create and practice an elevator pitch so you’re ready, contact HiConsulting Services for a free consultation.



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