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Crafting Your 'L'vator Speech

The dreaded 'L'vator speech!  That short speech you need to make when one of your network contacts
You're 'L'vator speech does triple duty!
or an interviewer asks: . . . . . . . .

“So what do you do?” or “What do you want to do?”  
       A rambling response or unclear and non-focused answer can stop the conversation in its tracks.
Why? Because with out a clear and concise answer, it leaves your listener without a clear idea of what you do.   
  1. It leaves the interviewer unsure that you really want to do the job for which you are being interviewed
  2. It leaves your networking contact unsure of how to help you.

A better approach
A better approach to beginning any conversation when networking or interviewing is to have a short self-introduction of yourself that tells your listener who you are and what you do - concisely and clearly.  This handy tool is called your 'L'vator Speech.

'L'Vator Speech defined
The ‘L’vator speech is a short, planned, and well-practiced self-introduction that accurately and adequately conveys your expertise, attributes, and objective.  Theoretically, it can be said in the time you travel in an elevator between, say  . . . the 1st and 14th floor, in 30 seconds or less.  Hence, the name ‘L’vator Speech!

A well-thought out 'L'vator speech tells your listener a lot in a little amount of time:
  • What you do
  • What you are expert at
  • What skills/strengths you possess
  • The type of work you want to do
  • What you want to accomplish in the conversation between you and your listener. 
When you're done delivering your ‘L’vator speech, your listener has a pretty good idea of what you do well and what you want to do.

The  L'vator Speech is actually a sales tool.  If finding a job is about selling yourself   –  and it is  –  then you need a quick and concise way to talk about their WIFFIM, in this case, what you can do for them – the essence of sales.
  • Think of the 'L'vator speech as another of your sales and marketing tools.  
  • Think of yourself as the product or service you are selling.  
This sales tool enables you to tell the listener, your buyer, about the (1) features you possess, and (2) benefits you can provide to a future employer if they hire you!  (Please refer to Want a Job?  –  People Buy Benefits  –   So . . . Sell Benefits.)

'L'vator Speech Does Triple Duty
The 'L'vator speech is a vital tool that, on the downside, is hard to craft.  However, on the upside, once developed, your 'L'vator speech becomes one of your hardest working tools, doing triple duty for you and your job search.  Your 'L'vator speech serves 3 big purposes:
  1. 'L'vator speech –   As an 'L'vator speech, it is the answer to the question that begins most networking conversations  --“What do you want to do?”  
  2. Career Summary  –  It provides the wording for the Career Summary that appears near the top of your resume. 
  3. #1 Interview Question  – It provides the answer to the most frequently asked interview question  – “So, why don’t you tell me about yourself?"
Crafting Your 'L'vator Speech
Below is a 5-part model for preparing your 'L'vator speech.

Step 1. Start with your profession.  State what you do in a couple of words?
    I am a ________________________________   
    I’m an electronics engineer.   I’m a manager.  I’m an administrative assistant.

Step 2.  Identify your area(s) of expertise. Ask yourself:  What makes you stand out from the crowd?  What are you known for?  What would colleagues say about you?

    ,with in-depth experience or expertise in ________________
    I’m an electronics engineer, with extensive experience in designing systems that . . .
    I’m a manager who consistently runs departments that function like clockwork.
    I’m an administrative assistant who never misses a deadline.

Step 3.  Identify your areas of skill and strengths that are relevant to the job your are seeking.
    I’m particularly skilled in, or I’m adept at _____________________
    I am skilled in helping the customer implement the new system with no downtime.
    I’m really effective at planning and budgeting so that the programs I manage come in on time/within budget.
    I’m current in the latest office computer software so I’ll be productive right off the bat!

Step 4.  Identify unique attributes that are relevant to the person you are talking with, in a networking conversation,  or position you are interested in, whether applying for the job or talking with the interviewer.
    I am certified in, or, I am trained in, or I was awarded____________________
    I hold a Master’s degree in advanced electronics engineering.
    I am a certified Program Manager.
    I was recognized as the “Employee of the Year” by my previous employer and earned a cash award.

Step 5. What are you trying to achieve in this interaction (networking meeting or interview)?  Please note that this step does not appear in the Career Summary - which end with Step 4.
    I am looking to, or, I am seeking to  _________________________
    I am looking for an Systems Engineering position that uses_____________
    I am hoping you can refer me to a person in your network who is familiar with the firm _____________________
    I am seeking an  opportunity to _________________

In Summary . . .
Crafting your 'L'vator speech, aka Career Summary, aka answer to the # 1 Interview Question, is an important step in developing the sales and marketing tools you will need to sell yourself in the employment marketplace.   It enables you to tell the story of (1)m what you do well and (2) what you want to do, in a clear and consistent way.  Done well, using the tips and model provided here, it will move you closer to accomplishing your goal of finding your next role or position.

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
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