Is The “Elevator Pitch” Out?
For those job searching, the product is you; the concept is your background and skills; and what you’re looking for next. And you need to say it in a very short amount of time...you know, as long as an elevator ride, 30-60 seconds - remember those? Historically that was your elevator pitch: a short description of an idea, product, or company that explains the concept in a way that any listener can understand in a short period of time.
But for many, this concept feels antiquated and outdated, especially now where reaching out and re-establishing relationships is so important, in virtual, hybrid and in person meetings.
Shouldn’t we be focusing on building relationships and connections, and not self-promoting? At The Swing Shift, we even have a course on elevator pitches and yet we couldn’t agree more! The old way of thinking about an elevator pitch isn’t authentic to most people, and is synonymous with a used car salesman.
Here’s the catch: you need to make it super easy for those relationships you’re building. People don’t have a lot of time. To help you, tell people what you’ve been doing, and what you want next. So, you need a short description of yourself that explains your background in a way that any listener can understand what you’re looking for in a short period of time. Sound familiar? It should! A pitch is still necessary, but how we think about it has changed.
After working with hundreds of women getting back to work after a career pause or those making a career change, we find that talking about themselves usually goes one of two ways:
First they either go on at length about their break; why they took a break, why they’re unsure of what’s next, maybe why they feel guilty, or out of touch, or irrelevant.
Or, they’re unable to talk about themselves at all, because they’re uncertain or uncomfortable with the ambiguity associated with their next steps, and so deflect the conversation.
We want to be clear...you will need help when looking for work. You can’t do it alone and you shouldn’t have to. People like helping and want to help, so let them. Your path back to work depends on it. So you need to tell them succinctly and with purpose - even when you’re still exploring.
Putting together a pitch helps structure an answer so that you can respond to “What have you been up to?” in a compelling and concise way in any situation you find yourself in. It enables you to feel more confident expanding the conversation to work even if you haven’t done so before with those people you see everyday - fellow sports parents, church community, neighbors, etc. It gives you a strong and productive answer.
We teach a session during our Accountability Program on how to create a good pitch as a job seeker and why it’s necessary (What’s Up Pitches!) including the building blocks of a pitch. It will vary depending on who your audience is and where you think they can be helpful. This can be anything from just letting people know you’re looking to return to work after a break, to mentioning your background, skills and how you’re looking to leverage them moving forward. There’s a large spectrum here. And it’s okay if you don’t know yet what you want to do next - tell people you’re exploring.
Interested in learning more about perfecting your pitch or other job search related questions? You can find this along with a step by step guide on how to get back to work or make a career change in our bookBack to Business. If books aren’t your thing we also have an online learning course and audiobook with the same useful info.