I was recently at a networking event where I was asked to review several resumes. When I review a resume, I try to look for what the person is doing right, and point out their strengths. In addition, I look for ways they can enhance their resume through several critiques and modifications. However, not all people need to modify their resumes. In other words, if you are already getting responses from employers regarding your resume, DO NOT TOUCH IT. The only reason to revise and/or revamp your resume is if you are not getting the results you want, ie. your resume is not getting you interviews. Otherwise, if you are getting interviews in the field you are interested in, you are already ahead of the game and should leave it as is. Once your resume is getting you the interviews you want, you then need to focus on your interviewing skills. Getting in the door through your resume is only half the battle. The battle is not won, however, until you are the one who has the offer. Once you are the one who has the offer, it is YOURS! Do whatever you want with the offer: accept it, decline it, or negotiate it. The point is, you want to be the one who has the offer at the end of the day. For more tips on how to be effective at landing the offer and acing your interview, look for our next article on: “How to be effective at interviewing.”
Giving a Great Elevator Speech
How to effectively answer: “Tell me about yourself.
“When a job seeker is asked “Tell me about yourself” in an interview or in networking situation asked: “What do you do?”, he or she can often freeze up. In other circumstances the job seeker may not know how to convey what they do in a way that will have them be memorable. Today, we are going to discuss how to succinctly present what you do and highlights of what you have to offer in an effective manner.
WHAT IS AN ELEVATOR SPEECH?
Essentially, an Elevator Speech is a 30-60 second sound bite that highlights what you do, as well as what makes you stand out from others in your position. If an Elevator Speech is done well, it will not only make you memorable, but will also spotlight your uniqueness in an effective way. One of the best introductions to an Elevator Speech I have heard of was an IRS man who, when asked what he did, simply replied “I am a government fundraiser.”
Using humor can be very effective at making you memorable in a networking situation, however, should be used cautiously in an interview until you have a better understanding of the individual you are interviewing with.
There are 4 main components to a great Elevator Speech:
1) Catch their attention
2) Tell them what you offer or can contribute
3) Give an example which illustrates the benefit of what you offer
4) Leave them wanting to learn more
You are not going to stand out or be memorable if you just state your name and what you do or even worse, launch into your life story. People are interested in what you can provide for them, ie. what benefits can you offer to the organization your are interviewing with or the person you are networking with. One of the ways to illustrate the deliverables you can provide would be to give examples of where you have increased productivity, efficiency or performance in your most recent position. This is what I call PEP. Employers want to hire people with PEP. They want to know what is in it for them if they hire you.
A great Elevator Speech will begin with a catchy first sentence that will capture your audience’s attention such as the example of the IRS man I provided earlier. If I were to introduce myself by simply stating “I am a career counselor” you are not going to be mesmerized or even remotely interested for the most part, however, if instead I say “You know how millions of Americans are struggling because they cannot find a job, well what I do, is I help them land the perfect 6 figure job in less then 3 months,” that might catch your attention.
From there you want to site specific results that you have produced in the past which correlate to what you are offering. In other words, if I were to begin telling you what a great artist I am, that has nothing to do with what I can offer you as a career coach. Rather I would go into more depth as to the specific services my company offers such as one-on-one coaching, teleconferences and workshops.
Next, you would give an example of where you were successful in one of those areas. An example I would give is:
“I recently gave a workshop where one of the participants was an animator who had been looking for a job for over a year. Less then 2 weeks after completing my workshop he landed his dream job teaching animation at a University thanks to the information he learned in my workshop.”
You can see that sharing an example of where you have been effective can have an enormous impact.
Finally, you want to close by leaving your audience hungry and interested to learn more about you and/or your services your provide.
An example of how I would close would be:
“Over the past 6 years that I have been in career counseling and recruiting, I have had the pleasure of being a contribution to thousands of job seekers through coaching each individual on increasing their effectiveness and confidence which led to hundreds landing their dream jobs.”
If you are in a networking situation you would want to follow up with what a great referral for you would be, however, in an interview, you merely want to intrigue the person that you are interviewing with such that they are eager to learn more about you and what you can offer.