Why is it sometimes so hard to answer such a simple question like, “what do you do?” It can almost feel like that moment when you’re trying to recall your computer password and your brain goes completely blank. Yes, you should know it. Yes, you do know it. But knowing and recalling, or in this case relaying, can be two separate things. An elevator pitch is a snapshot of your career and personal brand summarized in a minute or less. No, it’s not about speed talking. It’s about you being able to relay your skills and brand in a memorable way at the drop of a dime—whether in a business or casual setting.

Gift Wrap Your Elevator Pitch

Consider your elevator pitch your professional skills and personal brand wrapped up in a colorful and neat package topped off with a bow–figuratively speaking, of course (and the bow is optional). Your elevator pitch should be well put together and express your personal brand in an authentic and impactful way. If you were to think of relaying your personal brand as a present, it’d actually be similar.

A great present is: carefully selected, catered to the receiver, and memorable.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how your elevator pitch could be presented in the same way.

Highlight Your Relevant Skills

Your elevator pitch should showcase what makes you unique and how your skills add value by solving problems. If you’ve lived on this earth long enough, or you’re older than ten, chances are you’ve learned a thing or two. And as great a skill as your ability to color code and organize your magazine collection may be, if it isn’t in line with your overall career objectives, it’s not important. If you’re a financial advisor that also dabbles in building furniture, it may not be worth including in your pitch—although an interesting combination. But if you think building furniture adds a unique edge to your personal brand, you should tie it together in a way that’s still relevant. For example, “I build customized furniture made to last in the same way that I build customized plans to secure my client’s financial future.” If there are multiple parts to your personal brand, make sure that your elevator pitch is in line with your current objectives.

Cater Your Message

Be prepared to highlight different parts of your personal brand based on the conversation. If you have experience training and designing courses and you’re having a casual conversation with someone looking for a trainer, guess what, the trainer in you trumps (and that casual conversation just became a potential job opportunity). Not that mentioning your writing skills isn’t an added bonus; it just may not be the most important point to get across if you have a limited amount of time. Just as a good gift takes into consideration what the receiver would want, always keep in mind who is on the listening end of your elevator pitch.

Be Confident and Concise

Last, but not least, is the “how” of how you present your elevator pitch. Just like a carefully selected gift, the receiver knows when it’s authentic. Don’t feel as though you need to throw in every career highlight and goal in order to “sell yourself”. Not only will you miss the chance to make your key points stand out, you’ll also sound as if you’re not confident. If you keep in mind the most important aspects of your personal brand, (think about what you must absolutely get across if nothing else), your message will be clear. An elevator pitch isn’t your only chance to make a great impression. It’s just a teaser. Don’t forget, your personal brand is personal to you. Do your homework and be clear on your personal brand and career objectives. But it’s also just as important to stay true to who you are. After all, it is your uniqueness that truly makes your personal brand a gift.

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Marietta Gentles Crawford
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Marietta Gentles Crawford

Writer + Personal Brand Strategist, Founder at MGC Ink
Marietta Gentles Crawford is a writer, personal brand strategist, and author of "From Nine to Thrive: A Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and Elevating Your Career." With over ten years' experience climbing through top corporate and government brands as a writer and trainer, her passion is inspiring professionals to dare mediocrity.
Marietta Gentles Crawford
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