Aaron Gracey is a former Royal Artillery officer, and is now System Operator Policy Advisor at Network Rail. He shares his insights on what you should say to a new contact.
An effective elevator pitch is a clear, concise direct message, which outlines why you could be an excellent employee to new contacts. Like everything you do in the Armed Forces, to make things look easy takes a lot of effort, and developing an elevator pitch involves intense preparation, research and practice. So how do you develop the killer pitch?
Step 1: Information gathering and intelligent planning
Tailor the elevator pitch to suit your audience, by researching the organisations and industries that interest you. Research online and ask your contacts in the relevant industry for insight. Understanding the terrain you want to operate within will demonstrate that you are serious about the role, and help to set your elevator pitch into the right context.
Step 2: Identify your target
After researching, identify who can help with your career development. It is pointless attending open days, recruitment fayres and networking events if the right decision-makers are not there. You can see if useful potential contacts are attending an event, by looking at the programme of speakers are and the delegate list.
Step 3: Plan your pitch
Use your research to decide how your skills and experiences make you an excellent match for the role. Develop your pitch by listing your achievements, which includes outlining your actions, their impact and what you learnt. This approach is detailed, succinct and evidence-based.
Step 4: Red-team your pitch
Practice your pitch on friends and family, giving them if possible the job advert to test its relevancy. They can give invaluable feedback on the quality of your pitch, such as the information you share and your presentation style. Video yourself delivering your pitch to others, and during the play back you will notice how you can improve your presentation style.
Step 5: Pick your battleground
Identify where is best to meet the right people. Use social media to identify workshops, networking events or conferences to attend. LinkedIn is also a good platform to demonstrate your knowledge of the environment.
Step 6: Be yourself
When you deliver the pitch, do it as yourself. Avoid second guessing what the person wants, because this will put you immediately on the back foot. Be natural and you will come across as authentic. Remember that the 30 second elevator pitch is to make you memorable and lead to a longer conversation, where you can talk in greater detail about your career ambitions.
This originally appeared in Pathfinder, the monthly magazine for Service leavers. The OA edits a regular article, called ‘Ask the Experts’, where different career questions are answered.