Land your dream job 2- Develop your elevator pitch

June 30th, 2009 by elizabethpace Leave a reply »

elevatorpitch2In the early 1990s, I was in charge of business development for a biotech firm. When describing the company, I said, “We provide high dose chemotherapy with peripheral blood stem cell support to patients with advanced stage multiple myeloma, lymphoma, AML, CML and breast cancer.” Talk about a conversation stopper.  When I changed my story to, “We provide hope to cancer patients,” I got the response that I wanted. “How do you do that?”

If you want to land your dream job, develop your story, commonly called the elevator pitch, and tell it to everyone. Make the story brief, clear and human—no rambling, no industry jargon and no technical details.

          Thomas J. Moyer, Ohio’s chief justice describes America’s story, “The American story is the story of people who reach beyond themselves.” Doesn’t that sum it all up? Did that create a vision of people who risked everything to cross oceans, who trekked across mountains, who journeyed to the moon and who are still reaching out and providing hope to the many corners of the world? Your story should incite an emotional response from your prospect. You want him to respond with, “Tell me more.”  

Size matters

How many times have you met someone at a business function, asked them what they did and five minutes later they were still talking? You had no clue what they did and you wondered if they knew. Here’s a situation where size truly does matter—and short wins. Develop your thirty second story. Twenty seconds would be better and fifteen seconds, outstanding.


It’s about the people

          Chief Justice Moyer’s American story is about people, not about a country. Make your story about people, not about a company, technology or a product. The human brain processes and stores information by association and you want to capture your prospective employers’ attention and ignite a positive emotional response. What if your prospective employer knows nothing of your previous company? What if his computer crashed that day? He isn’t going to be thinking highly of technology. But, people like people. And the truth is—every employers’ success hinges on the talents and motivations of the people that they employ.  


Jargon is junk

In 1998 at the height of the technology boom, I was recruiting a sales manager for a start-up technology firm. One candidate described his abilities,“I manage best of breed sales forces that offer result-driven paradigm shifts that increase bandwidth to global constituencies.”  Huh?

Jargon is  a contagious disease. We hear it, we use it, and we spread it.  When using jargon one of three things will happen and none of them are good. Your prospective employer will not understand you. Your prospective employer will think that he is stupid. Your prospective employer will think that you are stupid. Out of the box, human capital, and value-added are phrases that clutter business communications.  Stop using them now.

Recently I worked with a woman to develop her 15 second story.  She had an impressive career in operations in banking, health care and IT. But after diving deeper, we discovered she had many successful new product launches. Her new story that morphed into her tagline–the first line of her resume and the tag underneath her email signature–was, ”Turning business visionaries’ dreams into operational reality.” 

I challenge you to develop your clear, concise and human story. One that will intrigue the listener to ask for more—the story of your unique talents and how you will help them cut costs or drive revenue.




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