Pitching Brand You: The “Elevator Speech”

December 29, 2009 at 2:12 am Leave a comment

I have resisted, I really have, as I truly dislike the “elevator speech” cliche. (What happens if you get stuck in that elevator? Does it turn into the “elevator monologue?” And can it not be delivered on an escalator or on the Metro?) Yet several email correspondents have recently asked about ways to craft this tool — which essentially is a 30-second explanation of your experience and what you’re looking for in a job. (The reason behind the cliche is that you should be able to deliver this pitch in the time it takes to ride in the elevator from your floor to your destination. Catchy, huh?)

All sarcasm aside, it’s important to come up with a short, snappy explanation of your employment goals —  for this little speech, for a business card (which all job hunters definitely need) and for the personal statement portion of your resume before you detail your experience and background.  In this era of branding, you need to find ways to clearly and succinctly pitch your own brand in a way that people will remember.

So whether for the elevator, the business card or your next networking event, here are some elements this pitch should contain:

*A brief summation of your experience and abilities. Obviously, your resume, cover letter, clips and other materials will provide much greater depth when you send them along to someone who is considering you for a position. But for the purposes of this speech or your networking pitch, you’ll want to answer the following questions: What do you do? What are you interested in doing in the future? It can be as simple as: “I have been a business journalist for several decades, and have enjoyed writing and editing print and Web stories about business and finance. Now I’m looking to make a transition to a public affairs position and I think my business knowledge and journalism skills are an asset.” You’ll want to emphasize what you have done but also where you want to steer your career going forward.

*A “hook” — similar to a story hook that grabs the reader — that will make someone remember you and will get them to ask you questions. Mention a story you covered that received a lot of attention. If you’re a regular on a particular radio or TV program, perhaps mention that. If you have a complementary skill — mastery of a foreign language, perhaps, or polished public speaking skills — consider adding that to the pitch. Sometimes your career goal may be somewhat interesting or unusual and can also serve as a hook.

*A conversational, friendly tone. Obviously, you’re going to give this speech again and again — but it shouldn’t feel as though you have. Just as a good stand-up comic or professional musician appears to be interacting in a fresh way with each audience, you want your contacts to feel as though you’re engaging them directly. Look them in the eye, smile or even laugh at the appropriate time and pitch specifically to them.

*An ending. Don’t let your pitch trail off as the elevator stops or you reach your destination on the train. Hand your new contact your business card or ask if you can be in touch in the future. Do so politely, of course, but engage them in an interaction and they are more likely to remember you weeks or months in the future.

*As always, some job leads to pursue — a few openings in public relations, a Web position and an editor position:

*The National Association of Realtors in D.C. is seeking a senior public affairs associate:

Senior Public Affairs Associate, Government Affairs

National Association of Realtors
Location: Washington , District of Columbia 20001 United States
Job Type: Employee
Job Status: Full Time

The National Association of Realtors®, the largest trade association in the nation, is seeking a DC-based senior publicist. The Senior Public Affairs Associate serves as point person for all media outlets in the legislative and regulatory issues arena. The position involves counseling NAR Government Affairs staff on media outreach vehicles in addition to writing news releases and publicity materials. Must be able to identify and reach targeted, inside the beltway audiences and proactively generate coverage.

NAR offers compelling salary, exceptional benefits and a Capitol Hill/Union Station location. Please email resume and salary requirement to: HR-DCNAR@realtors.org.

No phone calls, please. EOE M/F/V/H


Excellent writing skills and people skills are essential. Successful candidate will have min. seven years experience in Washington-focused media and public affairs or related area, a keen understanding of the legislative and regulatory process, and a demonstrated ability to shape perceptions of public policy and build and maintain print, broadcast and online media relationships. Bachelor’s degree required.

*The PR firm Brown Lloyd James is looking for an account executive in D.C.:

Account Executive – Washington DC Location

Brown Lloyd James
Location: Washington , District of Columbia United States
Last Updated: 12/24/2009
Job Type: Employee
Job Status: Full Time

Company Description: Brown Lloyd James is an energetic, independent public relations and public affairs firm with offices in London, New York, Washington, DC and Doha, Qatar, representing companies, individuals and organizations to shape images, protect and enhance reputations, achieve business objectives and influence public opinion.  Clients are largely international and range from foreign governments to financial institutions to global nonprofits.

Principal Responsibilities:

Work in close collaboration with New York and Washington, DC – based management and account directors on day-to-day media outreach and strategy.

Conduct face-to-face meetings with current and prospective clients.

Draft, distribute and pitch to domestic and international media including: print, broadcast and blogs.

Assist with logistics and content for large-scale events and high profile visits.

Proactively strategize client events, media campaigns, and pitch angles.

Provide background research and creative content for new business proposals and current projects.

Liaise with clients and ensure satisfaction with the company’s services.

Ensure the company aspires to and achieves the highest ethical standards.

Keep abreast of regulatory requirements and standards of best practice.

Education Requirements:

·         Bachelor’s degree required. Preferably in Communications, Journalism, English or other PR related discipline.

Training, Skills, Knowledge and / or Experience:

·         Prior 2 – 3 years professional experience required

TO APPLY:  Please email your resume, cover letter, references, salary requirement, and writing sample to jobs@brownlloydjames.com

*AOL in Sterling, Va., has an opening for a Web news technical producer (hat tip to mediabistro.com):

Publication or Company AOL
Industry Internet/Online/New Media
Salary Competitive
Job Duration Freelance/Project Basis
Job Location Sterling, VA USA
Job Requirements Web News Technical Producer, full-time freelance/contract

AOL News seeks a technical producer for day-to-day and project work on its suite of sites including Sphere.com and PoliticsDaily.com. Washington/Dulles-area applicants are preferred, but remote candidates will be considered.

Typical duties:
– Create category pages, canvases, basic modules and other site features as needed to support editorial staff
– Implement custom ad campaigns on AOL News sites
– Troubleshoot and fix basic CSS and production errors
– Pull metrics to help executives track site traffic and SEO
– Perform other CMS/technical production tasks as needed

Desired background:
– Web site design or development
– Advanced use of one or more content management systems
– CSS experience
– Knowledge of Omniture and/or comScore reporting methods
– Experience in a media work environment
– Experience in a corporate work environment

Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume to newsontheweb@aim.com.

About Our Company AOL is a leading global web services company with a substantial worldwide audience, a suite of powerful web brands and industry leading products, and one of the largest advertising networks in the United States.

Our mission is to inform, entertain and connect the world. To accomplish this we will focus on growing the size of our online audience and increasing the engagement of our users by providing highly relevant content and advertising to consumers across the Web.

As an independent public company, we will focus our web services business on five core areas: Advertising, Content, Local and Mapping, Communications and Ventures.

*And last but not least (with the hat tip to journalismjobs.com) Post-Newsweek Media is seeking a Web editor to work out of their Gaithersburg office to help launch a military education site in early 2010:

Company: Post-Newsweek Media
Military Education Web Editor
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Job Status: Other
Salary: Not Specified
Ad Expires:
January 22, 2010
Job ID: 1135235

Want to be a part of something new and exciting? Do you have knowledge of the military education programs and what colleges are doing to make education affordable for the military and their family members? Do you have writing and communications skills? Then you need to contact us and apply for the position of Digital Editor for DCMilitaryEd.com.

We are looking for someone with good writing and interview skills who will become the voice of our Military Education website launching early in 2010. Must be creative writer and reporter and have a knowledge of the military and education issues. This is a position which will allow you to become the voice of information on what benefits are available for military because of the new 9/11 GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Programs and other benefits that may help the military and their families choose the right financial aid programs, the right military benefits and the right schools to attend in order to achieve their goals. You will do video interviews, news and feature stories and approve bulletin board postings on the website each week.

This position is a contract position which will require 20-30 hours a week after the site is established. In the first two months, it may require 40 hours a week. Send resume and references to: DCMilitaryEd@gazette.net. Initially this person will need to work from our offices in Gaithersburg, MD, but once site is established, they can work remotely. Become a part of an exciting new website and make a name for yourself as an expert in the field of education for military and their families. EOE.

Good luck on the hunt!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

How to make the most of a job interview Seeking a job with an employer that has cut jobs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

DC Works has moved!

I'm now blogging at dcworks.info. I hope you'll join me there!

%d bloggers like this: