Thursday, November 17, 2016

Elevator Pitches: Selling Yourself to Your Network

On November 10th, the CPRS put on a free student/new grade event to teach us ways to effectively network. Industry professionals spoke to us and talked about the ways that we could improve our networking skills to help us get ahead in our careers. The focus of the night?

The elevator pitch.

So far in this semester, we've talked a lot about attracting media coverage and how to pitch stories to media outlets. Attention grabbing headlines, short and to the point summaries of the information - enough to keep people interested, without giving away all the details.

That is, essentially, what an elevator pitch is. The difference? In an elevator pitch, you're trying to summarize yourself and your personal brand and entice potential contacts (or employers) interested in having a conversation with you.  With an elevator pitch, you have 15-30 seconds to make yourself look good to someone. It's your attention grabbing headline.

So what do you talk about?

With an elevator pitch, it's important that you keep it short and succinct. You want to mention:

  • WHO you are - Your name, your educational background.
  • WHAT you do - Your work experience, your current position, or the type of position or work you're looking for and. 
  • WHY you're interesting - A little something extra about yourself, something that will make you stand out in there mind. Remember to keep it professional! 
Elevator pitches will be extremely useful as we take the next steps in beginning our careers. People are busy, and networking events can be hectic. Prepare your elevator pitch and practice it until it's perfect - you never know when you'll get an opportunity to make a connection. Having an elevator pitch prepared that represents you and your own personal brand well will help you stand out to potential contacts. 

And while we're at it, here are a few other networking tips given to us at the event: 
  • Some people won't want to talk to you. Don't take it personally. 
  • Don't approach pairs sitting together, there's a chance they could be discussing something private. Instead, approach people on their own or in groups of 3. 
  • Don't network only when you need something, and don't stop networking when you have a job. 
  • Network laterally and don't write anyone off. Networking with your peers is just as important as networking with someone in a position to hire you. 
  • Work on building your relationships with your contacts. Don't just add them on LinkedIn - send them a message, bring up a memorable part of your conversation with them and ask if you could meet for coffee sometime. 
  • If you're attending an event with the intent to network, make sure you dress professionally and have business cards to give to people. 
  • And finally, don't bring up politics when you're networking. 

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