Developing Your Elevator Pitch: Adding Purpose and Value to Your Career

One of the questions I ask in consultation with my clients is why they feel that they make a better (insert target job field/position here) than the other candidates.

The funny thing is, from CEOs to entry level workers, 90% usually are stopped cold with this question. They simply can’t answer this in succinct, value-driven terms. And that’s a real problem.

Knowing and feeling comfortable with your worth in terms of value to your current employer and prospective employers is a powerful tool in a job search. The proverbial “30-second commercial” or “elevator pitch” holds true today and need to be integrated into every aspect of your job search arsenal.

I always coach people to operate from a place of authenticity, honesty and integrity in developing their resume and cover letter, and getting a firm handle on one’s bench strengths is a good place to start when searching for one’s personal value proposition.

Each of us, in our heart of hearts, know by what standards we are measured in the work that we do. We know when we are doing a good job, and we also know when things definitely need improvement. For those who are self-employed, this becomes completely self-directed, and your measurement tool is from the feedback that your clients are willing to share with you.

But when it comes to the point of distilling this into a personal brand /personal statement about what we can offer others with our vast array of career assets, this becomes a painful task. The problem, to a certain degree, is that we live in a society where it’s considered impolite to ‘boast’. Women especially have difficulty in this arena; whereas a man would have no problem reaching for the brass ring, women hang back, worried about ‘rocking the boat’ or that they aren’t ready yet for that next step, consequently ‘overthinking’ how they might state their value.

Here are some ways to build your own personal ‘elevator pitch’ and value statement:

1) Draw up a list of your personal attributes that you consider strengths, and brainstorm words that adequately describe what your work habits are in active terms

2) Research keywords commonly found in the types of jobs you are targeting or mirror your employment background

3) Spend time using both of these lists to develop a personal branding statement that marries your personal characteristics with the key skills needed to fulfill your target position. Tackle this as establishing your personal career mission statement. What do you offer someone who is interested in integrating your expertise into their company?

Be aware that refining and tweaking your statement is a continuous process, and can also change over time. As an example, over the course of my career, the specific functionality of my personal brand has changed, but what has remained constant is my commitment to high quality work and exceeding expectations. So in my case, this would be an important point to weave into a statement that is reflective of what I would offer an employer.

Once developed, you can find many different applications for your elevator pitch. Use it in job interviews. Post it on your LinkedIn profile. Tweet it. Include it on your Web site and use this as a basis to write a cover letter. The key is to COMPEL people to want to get to know you or hire you, and as every advertiser would affirm: You need to show the audience what’s in it for them. And the best way to get to that point is to understand what you have to offer and how it stands out above the other competing options.

Taking this tact will give you power and purpose in your job search, and also provide a clear path on how you define yourself within a work environment. How you positively project and perceive yourself makes a big impact on everyone around you.