By Asha Aravindakshan, SFMBA ‘17
I’m glad to see so many of you checked out Part 1 of my series, about Building Your Personal Brand.
Your elevator pitch is a key component of your personal brand. Coming up an elevator pitch seems simple enough – a quick summary of your experience and goals – but as anyone who has stumbled over their pitch can tell you, a good elevator pitch requires preparation and practice! These tips will help you prepare an effective pitch.
Build your elevator pitch with three things in mind: 1) time, 2) the most relevant details about you, tailored for your audience, and 3) your goal in the interaction.
Your elevator pitch should be 30 seconds, which is a lot of time to relay information about yourself. Let me share an example for a job search:
Job Search Example: “Hi! I’m Asha, I’m a Vice President at a tech startup based in NYC and I’m looking for a similar role in Washington, DC. Do you know anyone hiring for senior executive operations roles in DC?”
When I read this example out loud, it was 10 seconds. So you can see that 30 seconds is a really long time to relay information.
You + Your Goals
Now, let’s dig deeper into the structure of your pitch. What do you include – what information makes the cut?
In the first example, I share my name, what I am doing, where I am and where I want to go, and ask if they know someone (not a company, but a particular person that is hiring for this type of role). For me, it was more important to highlight that personal relationship ask than a specific company ask because this type of role is not always advertised.
Your goal won’t be the same for each conversation. These tips will help you to get started. Then, you can tailor your pitch for different scenarios, and tweak it as you gain insight into which versions are more effective or feel more authentic.
First, your elevator pitch needs to be memorable and specific. When you’re getting started, organize your pitch around:
- who are you,
- what you want to do, and
- answer the question “how I can help you.”
As you develop more comfort with your pitch, think about what makes you unique, what elements of your experience will be most appealing to your audience, and what information or contacts you hope to gain through these interactions. Create a spreadsheet if it’s helpful!
In a graduate school job-search scenario, for example, you might mention the focus of your studies, the problems you are energized to solve, and the types of opportunities where you could add value.
In many fields, you’ll also use your elevator pitch to network and build relationships. Here is an example of how I reframed my pitch for a business development networking scenario:
Business Development Example: “Hi! I’m Asha, I work at a startup that helps enterprise companies with their customer experience management. What are the brands that stand out to you on social media?”
This second example runs shy of 10 seconds. I highlighted that I work in a small company that works with bigger companies on “customer experience management”. And because that term might not be familiar to everyone, especially if they work in a different industry or sector, I position the second statement as a question to allow them an opportunity to weigh in and answer or ask more questions about why or how social media relates to customer experience management.
Having several versions of your elevator pitch formulated and ready to go will help you feel more prepared for any situation. Don’t miss out on valuable opportunities to connect with confidence in virtual chats or networking events – these connections can open doors for you!
Be sure to update and develop your personal brand as you embark upon career pivots. Each experience or transferable skill you gain is an opportunity you might add to the narrative to demonstrate your proficiency and grow your professional network.
It’s now up to you: will you take this opportunity to shape how others see you? Please do – invest this time in you!
See you next week for my post about taking it to the next step: Business Networking.
This blog is Part 2 of a 3-part series where I also share tips for your Personal Brand and Business Networking.
See Part 1 here: https://cdo.mit.edu/blog/2021/04/06/build-your-personal-brand/
Learn more about your Personal Brand in Making LinkedIn Work for You – featuring Asha Aravindakshan, SF ‘17 on the MIT Sloan Alumni YouTube channel.
This excerpt is from Skills: The Common Denominator by Asha Aravindakshan, SF ‘17, which will be published by New Degree Press in August 2021. You may pre-order the book from IndieGoGo