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By Diana Ritchie, Spouse Career Center and Swiss Career Connections

Swiss Career Connections recently ran a workshop entitled “Inside secrets to becoming a top candidate”. Held at the Chambre Vaudoise du Commerce et de l’Industrie (CVCI) http://www.cvci.ch/ in collaboration with International Link http://www.internationallink.ch/, the workshop was designed to help those looking for “the edge” on how to secure a job in the Lake Geneva region. Judging by the feedback of our participants, many of our secrets were particularly well received!

One topic that was covered in the workshop was the so-called “Elevator Pitch”. This is such an important part of the job search process that we are frequently asked, as experts on the topic, to provide more information on how it works at local seminars and workshops. So, I thought as a gift to everyone, I would share with you the elements of a successful elevator pitch so you may also benefit.

What is an Elevator Pitch? An elevator pitch, as the name indicates, is a pitch that is short enough to fit within an elevator journey. Why is it necessary? An elevator pitch is seen as a hook that incites the receiver (the person you are speaking with) to say “tell me more”, to pose follow up questions, to ask for your business card, to invite you for a meeting, or to refer you to someone else. Why is this important? Well imagine you are face to face with the manager of your ideal job, or the golden client, or a colleague at work and he asks “So what do you do?” Do you have an answer prepared or will you stumble your way through, perhaps losing an opportunity?

How do you prepare an elevator pitch? An effective elevator pitch must feature the 5 C’s. It must be:

Concise: An effective elevator pitch contains as few words as possible. It should be said in 60 seconds or less.

Clear: Rather than being filled with acronyms, complex terms or industry jargons, an effective elevator pitch can be understood by your grandparents, your spouse and your children.

Compelling: An effective elevator pitch must be gripping. Speak with your heart to deliver it with passion. Explain the problem(s) you can solve. Talk about your added value, and how you differentiate yourself. Practice makes perfect! Practice it in front of family or friends.

Credible: An effective elevator pitch explains why you are qualified for the service you are offering.

Customized: An effective elevator pitch addresses the specific interests and concerns of the audience. Allow yourself to adapt the pitch at the moment to the person in front of you.

What should be in an elevator pitch? An effective elevator pitch answers the 4 W’s.

Who you are?

What are my personal traits? My passion? My values?

What you do?

What is my mission? My offer?
For which target audience?

What makes me useful to others?

What is my major benefit to my target audience?
What problems can I solve?

What makes you different?

What is the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for what I offer?

Here are a few templates and examples to get you started. Choose a template, craft your own pitch, practice it with others and try it at your next networking opportunity, at a dinner party, with colleagues, when being introduced to new people … whenever you can.

Template #1 “Personal Pride Statement”
“Hi my name is (name) from (company name) and I love to (personal pride statement).”
Example: “Hi. I’m Trish Wallis of Geneva Photography. I love getting children, parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents together to capture the essence of a family in a portrait.”

Template #2 “I help” Style
“I love helping (name your ideal clients) who are struggling with (Problem) to (solution).”
Example: “Good morning. I love helping people organize their lives to find what they need when they need it. I’m Jan Limpach of Organizing Plus.”

Template #3 “I am a specialist/expert” style
“I am a specialist/expert in (name your ideal clients) who are struggling with (problem) to (list specific solutions) so they (emotional happy ending).”
Example: “I specialize in helping disadvantaged communities who are struggling to have access to health-care, create self-managing health programs and save lives.”

Template #4 “Visual Pitch” style
"I crash websites. (Start with a dramatic statement) Our clients hire us to (problem) to (solution) and (unique skill).
Example: " I crash websites. Our clients hire us to dramatically increase traffic to their websites, so we make it our goal is to generate so much traffic their sites crash. If the site doesn't crash, we feel like we failed. We try really hard not to fail."

The Elevator Pitch is equally important for those employed. If your gift to the world is not seen or heard, nobody can benefit from it. Knowing how to position your unique offer so that it stands out, being visible, understood and remembered by your colleagues, and manger is essential to being promoted and to getting the ideal job.

This is why Swiss Career Connections offers “Create your own brand” as a stand alone tool for your career search. We have also teamed up with Joanne Freeman of Swimupstream to offer those presently working and those wanting to change jobs or find a new job the opportunity to attend “Marketing Brand Me”, a workshop in Geneva on 1 November 2012 from 18h30 to 21h30. This workshop goes beyond the pitch, as participants will create a personal Brand brochure and will practice communicating the benefit of their personal offer.

Author’s bio:

As owner and founder of SCC Sarl, Diana Ritchie has been operating successfully in the region for over 10 years, providing career-related counseling, networking and coaching to partners and spouses of international employees relocating to Switzerland.

Swiss Career Connections (for private clients)
www.scc-centre.com

Spouse Career Centre (for corporate clients)
www.spousecareercentre.com