I see your eye roll. Could anything sound more boring/unnecessary/daunting than crafting your elevator pitch? Stick with me and I’ll show you why it’s NECESSARY and that it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or boring!!
In case you’ve never heard the term elevator pitch, it was created with the idea in mind that you just found yourself in the elevator with the CEO and you have 30 seconds (the length of the elevator ride) to pitch your dream project.
It’s also come to mean the answer you give at a networking event (or in general life) when someone asks you the question,
“What do you do?”
“What type of work are you looking for?”
In my experience, if you ask a military spouse professional one of these questions (particularly those looking for work) you’ll often be greeted with an answer that starts with,
“Ummmmm…” or “Wellllllllllllll…”
It’s genuinely a tough question when you’ve moved 5 times in the last 8 years and have reinvented yourself and your career as you’ve moved around with your service member.
Your resume is jumbled, you’re not sure WHAT you are anymore, and although you have a dream job in the back of your mind, you don’t want to put yourself in a box and squash any career opportunity that the person you’re talking to may have the perfect connection to lead you to your next job!
Here’s the problem: the person you’re talking to needs to know where they’re leading you!
When I was traveling with the folks from SpouseBuzz a couple years ago, Jacey Eckhart gave me the PERFECT analogy for this and it has stuck with me!
If you’re the cook in your house and you ask your spouse, “Hey! What do you want for dinner?” and the answer you get back is: “I’ll eat anything!” Does that answer help you or leave you feeling frustrated?
Wouldn’t it be nicer if they at least gave you a direction? “Italian sounds good” immediately sends your brain into reviewing your pantry: “do I have pasta? Sauce? Cheese?”
That mental review is EXACTLY what we want to trigger in someone we’re talking to about our professional selves.
So how do you overcome the mental hurdles when crafting your 30-second elevator pitch?
Jacey helped me with this too, but to be honest, the exact formula we developed is best learned in person so you’ll have to attend an AMPLIFY workshop or IN PERSON In Gear Career event in your area to get the full deal (I had to). I won’t leave you hanging though!
Here are 3 tips to get you started on your 30-second elevator pitch:
An elevator pitch starts with your dream job. Seriously. Mentally remove all obstacles. Pretend that you know what your ZIP code will be for the next 20 years.
What is your dream job?
Where do you wish you could work? THIS is where you need to start because THIS is where you truly want to go.
You never know what connections you may find in your local community when you’re answering a simple question. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Kevin Bacon has nothing on a military spouse (Sorry, Kevin! #bigfan)
Include your experience (not your entire resume) in your elevator pitch. Please remember that this is not your entire resume. This is not taking people fully down the winding path that you’ve navigated, but you do need to give them something: something that points to your passion and/or your credentials.
Maybe you developed a passion for working with military families through your volunteer experience or maybe you just finished a certification/license in social work. Whatever qualifies you to do your dream job needs to be included in your elevator pitch.
Say your elevator pitch with confidence. I don’t know if your mom said this, but mine did: “sometimes you have to fake it until you make it!” Maybe you’re already confident in your journey and that’s AWESOME, you should be, but I know many are not.
Many feel the way I mentioned above: jumbled, afraid to put themselves in a box or at the worst they feel unqualified due to gaps in their resumes. Well this is when you fake it!!
If you can sound sure of where you want to go then I PROMISE that people will want to help you get there.
Practice saying your elevator pitch with confidence, Your dog won’t mind, I promise! Also remember: this is JUST a conversation starter! You won’t be trapped by your answer!
Pro-tip: If you already have a job or own your own business, you’re not exempt from the elevator pitch! In that case, instead of your dream job you fill it in with your next business goal or the one position that could tempt you to leave your current job!
Elevator pitch examples! You want examples! You got it:
Hi (confident smile)! I’m Amanda; I manage a nonprofit program for Hiring Our Heroes called In Gear Career. We help military spouses make local connections that hopefully lead them to their next career opportunity! We’re always looking for employers who want to hire military spouses or great military spouse professionals that need our services or want to manage one of our chapters (this last answer can be customized depending on who I am talking to!)
Hi (confident smile)! I’m Amy; I’m a journalist and freelance writer. I’ve written for many sources including ___________, ____________ and ____________. In a perfect world I’d love to manage content for a military news outlet!
Hi (confident smile)! I’m Lindsay; I’m a licensed social worker and I’ve worked in both the private and government sectors, but I’m looking to make a switch. Through my volunteer work, I’ve developed a passion for working with military families and I’d love to work for a military-focused nonprofit.
Hi (confident smile)! I’m Suzie; I have a degree in education. I’ve been away from the paid workforce for a while, but I’ve done a ton of volunteer work with the military child and youth services. I’d love to put my education and experience into a position working with at risk youth.
Need help crafting or practicing your elevator pitch?