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Prep for ‘elevator’ speech

Anyone looking for a job or starting a new career should have tools to help them to be competitive in the current job market. Traditional tools, such as cover letters, résumés and portfolios, can be some of the first things you develop that highlight your knowledge, background, interests and skills. Don’t hesitate to consider other strategies that help you communicate what you have achieved and where you want to go.

“Elevator” speeches are no longer limited to entrepreneurs selling their latest ideas to investors. Job seekers can use this concept to provide a potential employer with a quick description of themselves that sets them apart from other applicants. Writing an elevator speech will not only prepare you if you have the chance to speak to a company official or hiring representative but will also help you reflect upon your strongest qualities and how each applies to your career goals.

Employers may have reviewed hundreds of résumés and conducted many interviews. If you met the owner as you were dropping off a job application, what would you say? How do you make yourself stand out? An ideal elevator speech is between 30 seconds and a minute long, is concise and to the point, and is a quick, succinct summary of your résumé to a potential employer. Remember, in theory, it is a description of yourself that you could share in the time it would take to share an elevator ride with someone. Make it count.

What is the goal of your speech? Imagine the ideal outcome and this will help when you are drafting and fine-tuning your speech. Is it to ask if there are any job openings at the company or organization? Is it to ask if you can meet about potential opportunities? Is it to exchange business cards? Is it to make a lasting impression so that your name stands out among job candidates?

Begin with your name, your field of interest and desired position. Explain why you are a good fit with the company or organization and why you would be a valuable employee.

Describe your background, education and experience. Keep his or her attention by addressing the main questions on employers’ minds. Who are you, what type of a job are you looking for, and why are you different from any of the other job candidates? Prioritize your main points. You may have less time than you prepared for and want to make sure that you highlight the most important things first.

At the end of your speech, you can ask if their company or organization has a need for someone with your experience, if there happens to be any openings in your area of interest, or if they are currently hiring. As a job seeker, you should always be prepared to provide a business card or a résumé after meeting someone.


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Practice your speech with friends and family. Build your confidence and be comfortable with describing your qualifications and abilities.

Not everyone will have the opportunity to deliver an elevator speech and the speech may not be appropriate in every situation. It may be easier to give your speech to someone you have been introduced to or someone within your network. Regardless, drafting a speech will help you with your marketing strategy during your job search and will be a valuable tool when marketing yourself throughout your job search.

This is a regular column written by the N.M. Department of Workforce Solutions. For more information, go to