Landing an interview, let alone a job, has never been tougher as we enter 2013. Job seekers still outnumber jobs available by four to one; not very good odds. And one of the biggest obstacles job hunters face is how to present and describe themselves in simple yet compelling language. Do you know who you are? This is what is commonly known as the 30-second elevator speech, a two to three sentence verbal description of who you are, what you do, and what your value is.
The 30-second elevator speech derives from the time it takes to ride an elevator, which is about the time it takes to succinctly self describe. Writing and committing to memory a 30-second elevator speech is one of life’s most difficult tasks, even if you are a communications professional. Much has been written about 30-second missives, but I have yet to see prescribed how best to manage such a construct. Well, here is one methodology that may help you craft and recall an elevator speech that is effective, memorable, and enduring.
Grab your favorite beverage, writing instrument of choice, your favorite easy chair and a relaxed mindset.
Consider thoughtfully every job you have ever had and write down what factors made the job most enjoyable and rewarding.
Reach deep into your psyche and tap out any and every professional passion you have or had. For example, think about the aspects of your career or work that fire up your adrenalin.
Draw from your resume or experience a legacy list of accomplishments you have made in every position you have held. As an aid, consider how you have helped your employers reach their goals and objectives. Also, ping former colleagues to get their opinions on what they believe were your achievements.
Identify the terms that best describe your work history, current or most recent jobs, and/or career aspirations. Think about functional titles that you have operated under during your career as well as those title(s) that reflect well what it is you do or want to do.
Assemble the data along the following categories and prioritize them based on importance. Who you are, what you do, what is your passion, what is your value (or what do you bring to the table), and what are your accomplishments.
Construct a matrix that is four cells across and as many columns vertically that can contain all of the characteristics that you have listed characterized according to 1) Who you are 2) What you do 3) Your value and 4) Your achievements. Fill in the table with the data from above that you have collated and prioritized.
Pray over the table of information that you have assembled for whatever time you need to absorb and identify the best components that will comprise your elevator speech.
Mix and match each of the components in a way that is resonant with how you intuitively think about yourself. When you feel you have struck gold, write down the exact words that most resemble you the person and gives you the best gut feeling.
When you have the statement, repeat it for as often as it takes you to remember it. Feel free to employ your mirror to constantly rehearse so that it is indelibly committed to memory and rolls off the tongue in an easy and natural fashion.
Voila, your statement is finished. Use it, say it, tell your friends, and be ready to employ it whenever the occasion arises. In practice, many people fail at interviews because they are not able to succinctly and successfully say who and what they are. Employing your 30-second elevator speech will give you an edge that will increase your chances of connecting emotionally and chemically with a potential boss.
Gerry Corbett is the PRJobCoach at prjobcoach.com and CEO of Redphlag LLC, a strategy consultancy. He has served four decades in senior communications roles at Fortune 100 firms and earlier in his career in aerospace and computer engineering with NASA. He has a B.A. in public relations from San Jose State University and is a member of the International Advertising Association, National Investor Relations Institute; Arthur Page Society, National Association of Science Writers, and International Coaching Federation.