As a newcomer in Canada, you might feel nervous while introducing yourself at professional networking events or at job interviews. However, being well-prepared with an ‘elevator pitch’ will help calm those nerves! 

Elevator pitches, as the name implies, are short (20-30 seconds or approximately 75 words) introductory speeches to introduce yourself while networking. A good elevator pitch sounds natural and compelling and is a great asset to create as part of the personal branding exercise as it can help you make professional connections with confidence. 

When to use an elevator pitch?

For a job seeker or a newcomer looking to kick-start their career in Canada, there are several opportunities to use an elevator pitch. Some of them are:

  • Networking events, job fairs, and career expos
  • Job interviews
  • While requesting someone to be a mentor
  • As a quick note while sending a contact request on LinkedIn  

A strong framework will help you effortlessly create an impressive elevator pitch:

Introduction: Start enthusiastically by mentioning your full name in the introduction. Smile, extend a handshake, and add pleasantries like “How are you today?” or “Nice to meet you!” and add a line about who you are. Consider the background of the person you are speaking with; don’t use tech jargon while speaking with someone from business or marketing.

Here’s an example that we’ll continue to build on with each step. 

We’ll be creating an elevator pitch for Emily Miller, who is a web designer and is networking with a senior executive of an e-commerce site at a career expo for a potential job opportunity.  Here’s one way Emily can introduce herself:

“Hi, I’m Emily Miller, nice to meet you. I’m a designer with a Masters in Graphic Design and over a decade of experience in making the web look beautiful.”

  • Expertise and Ambition: Next, you should add in your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and a couple of things you want to highlight about yourself. Also remember to focus on the problem you solve, not the actual job you do. If possible, make it detailed to include quantifiable results that touch upon your aspirations and ambitions. 

Building on to Emily’s elevator pitch:

“Hi, I’m Emily Miller, nice to meet you. I’m a designer with a Masters in Graphic Design and over a decade of experience in making the web look beautiful. I’m passionate about creating intuitive user interfaces and experiences that convert site visitors to customers.” 

  • Call to action: It’s good practice to end your elevator pitch by asking a question and allowing your contact to respond to it, thus making the pitch more conversational in nature. 

Let’s go back to Emily Miller’s elevator pitch:

“Hi, I’m Emily Miller, nice to meet you. I’m a designer with a Masters in Graphic Design and over a decade of experience in making the web look beautiful. I’m passionate about creating intuitive user interfaces and experiences that convert site visitors to customers. I find the work your team does to be innovative and inspiring and would love to learn more about any graphics or web design needs you may have on the team.” 

The idea of an elevator pitch is to not be pushy. If your contact agrees to your ask, you should thank them and get their contact info. If they indicate that they are not open to your initial ask of an in-person meeting, politely express your gratitude and try to lower the ask by checking if it’s okay to send a follow-up email or connect with them on LinkedIn.

Practice, practice, practice! 

Once you compile your elevator pitch, don’t forget to practice with a friend or in front of the mirror. Practicing will help you build confidence to deliver the speech effectively and remember to modulate your voice; you should sound confident and be heard clearly. 

To sum up, here’s Arrive’s webinar on personal branding that will help you learn more about how to build your personal brand and use it as a key to opening career doors! 

[Source: Mindtools, The Balance Small Business, Skill Crush, Resource from UC Davis, Indeed, The Balance Careers]