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What to Include in Your 30 Second "About Me" Pitch

February 17, 2016

Let’s take a quick test.

You’re riding the elevator up to your floor when someone from upper management steps in the elevator with you.

Do you…

A. Stand there in awkward silence? Maybe hum a song you heard on the radio that morning?
B. Pretend to check a very important e-mail on your phone?
C. Use the elevator ride to your advantage by introducing yourself?

Did you say A or B? Hmm...it seems you’re content with where you are and will continue to schedule meetings, run copies, or if unemployed, be stuck in the job hunt.

Did you say C? Now we’re talkin'!!

A 30 second “about me,” or elevator pitch, is something that everyone over the age of 20 needs to have.

Whether you are interviewing for a job, networking, or introducing yourself in your next sales meeting, having a polished elevator pitch can elevate your career and how people view you.

What many people don’t know is that an elevator pitch is something that needs to be prepared and practiced. It’s quite difficult to tell someone about yourself in 30 seconds in a confident, detailed, and concise way.

If you’re like me, you have been caught in this situation once or twice. You’ve been in a job interview, on the bus, or in the elevator when someone asks, “So tell me about what you do?”  You frantically try to sum up everything you can think of as ungracefully as possible, only for your audience to politely get off at the next floor, leaving you feeling pretty awkward.

And if you’re like me, you may think that this doesn’t happen often enough to justify taking time to prepare an elevator pitch ahead of time.

Wrong.

Elevator pitches don’t just happen at career fairs. Having a polished elevator pitch can change how peers and upper management view you, and can help grow your responsibilities (maybe even help you earn future promotions too).

Writing an elevator pitch can be tough because you need get to everything in 30 seconds.

Here is a quick and easy way to write—and perfect—your elevator pitch:

1. Brainstorm and Organize Who You are

Your first step is to sit and think about yourself. For now, just brainstorm. Write down as many bullet points you can think of that will fit into one of these four categories:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you currently do? If you're looking for work, what do you want to do?
  • What big achievements have you made (just like a resume, keep it to relevant achievements)?
  • What are your skills?

I’ll give you a hint—the first should be your name and your current position.

2. List Your Goals

Now that you have figured out who you are and what you do (or want to do), start a new list. Write down 2-4 bullet points about your goals and who you want to be.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • What goals do you want to achieve in your current role or the role you are interviewing for?
  • How would you like to help the company?

3. Cross Off the List You Just Made

Now that you made your list, it’s time to remove some things. You have 30 seconds. You want to make sure you are sharing the most relevant and interesting things about yourself.

Start to strike items from your list. Remove the least-interesting bullet points and keep going.

If you think they are all relevant points, it doesn’t matter. Cross off at least two from each section.

Go ahead. It will feel good.

4. Write for Five Minutes

Since you will be talking to a real person, you want to make sure you don’t just list bullet points. It’s time to make real sentences and sound less like a robot and more like a human.

Set your timer for five minutes, and start writing. Use your bullet points as a guide.

Use action words you would use in your resume, like “earned”, “developed”, “oversaw.” Any other leadership or quantitative descriptions you can think of are excellent.

5. Write for Three Minutes

Take everything you just wrote in the five minutes, and throw it out. Now do it again, but set your timer for three minutes. Doing this again will help you keep only the most important and interesting things in your pitch.

You may need to do that a few times, but don’t stress out if it isn’t perfect with seamless transitions yet.

6. Realize Your Overall Impression Is Most Important

While everything written above is of great value to you, however your overall impression is going to be what’s most important.

As Stephanie from AT&T put it, “Studies show that as little as 7% of verbal communication actually plays a role in first impressions, so it’s not all about the conversation, but how you present yourself in that short period of time you have to chat. Employers want to see that you can represent yourself properly before choosing to pursue you – after all, you’re going to potentially be representing their company.”

7. Practice

Now that you have your speech outlined, practice reciting it. Don't practice once or twice, practice dozens of time. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

That’s it! Wasn’t that easy? You’re well on your way to nailing that interview or getting more responsibilities at work. Be confident, but don’t be afraid to be you and show your personality.

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