To land your best job, you need to sell yourself. We advise job seekers to come up with a two-minute commercial, a quick summary of why they’re a perfect fit. It’s also sometimes called an elevator pitch because you can deliver it anywhere, in the amount of time it takes to go up a few floors in an elevator.
Why a Commercial?
“But I’m not in sales,” you might be saying. “I don’t want to sound like a salesperson.” When you craft a strong elevator pitch, you’re not trying to put pressure on hiring managers or make promises you can’t deliver. You’re delivering a quick presentation that positions you as invaluable to their company.
You’ll use a variation of your two-minute commercial in your cover letter, during interviews and when you’re networking. It should take between 30 seconds and two minutes to deliver and show how you can solve their organization’s problems or create more success.
When you give them a memorable snapshot or sound bite that summarizes your professional self, they’re more likely to retain your message. You stand out, you show you respect their time, and you’re more likely to get an interview.
What’s In a Good Elevator Pitch?
Create your two-minute commercial around your unique selling proposition. Identify what makes you better and more qualified for the job than all the other humans on the planet, and lead with that.
Many people feel uncomfortable talking about themselves, but you can motivate hiring managers to listen by focusing on how your unique skills can help them. Explain how what you do can solve a pain point and back that up with examples from your past work experience.
Make it clear you want a job. You’re not just having a conversation; you have a goal. Offer them a way to follow up by leaving a business card or following up through email.
How to Write Your 2 Minute Commercial
Your brief speech should explain who you are, what you do, what makes you stand out, what you want and include a call to action. It might go something like this:
- Introduce yourself – First 5 seconds
- Briefly state what you do – 5 to 10 seconds
- Grab attention by asking a question or stating a problem – 5 to 10 seconds
- Deliver your unique value proposition and connect it to their pain points – 10 to 15 seconds
- Share achievements – 10 to 15 seconds
- State your goal and call them to take action – 15 seconds
Use the above as a basic framework for getting started but make it your own. You may need to spend more time on one aspect and less on others.
Two Minute Commercial Examples
If you’re currently out of work and looking for a job at a networking event, an appropriate two-minute commercial might be:
“I am currently looking for a new opportunity in B2B sales. I have ten years of successful sales experience with a technology firm and a marketing degree from UT Austin. If you know someone who is looking for a sales rep with my experience, I would certainly appreciate a referral. May I give you my card? I am ready to work and excited to find a new career home!”
Or, if you’re sitting in front of a hiring agent, you might say something like:
“I have spent the last five years as the top sales representative out of twenty-five reps for a leading technology company. I will bring my ability to generate revenue and profits to your company. I’m extremely confident in my sales abilities and have a very high level of interest in working for you and your company.”
Use your elevator speech to highlight what you’re good at and illustrate what you can do for them. For example:
“I’ve been the Office Manager at ABC Organization for the past five years. Some of my main responsibilities were planning and overseeing corporate meetings and events, sticking within budgetary constraints by finding the most cost-effective venues and vendors, making sure the office ran like clockwork and serving as the central point of contact for the entire office. I’d like to bring my experience to your company. May I give you my business card?”
Don’t Stop At One Elevator Pitch
Once you’ve created your basic two-minute commercial, develop variations for different situations. You might create one version for career fairs, a second for networking events and a third for use during interviews. The written version you use for online profiles and in your cover letter will most likely be different from the ones you deliver in person.
Delivering Your Two Minute Commercial
A carefully crafted two-minute commercial grabs attention, makes you stand out and helps you sell yourself, but it’s also useful because it helps you relax. Memorize your speech, then use it in response to questions like these:
- Tell me about yourself?
- What kind of job are you looking for?
- What are you doing these days?
- What kind of job are you looking for?
Practice giving your speech in front of a mirror. Rehearse until you can deliver it naturally, with confidence and positivity. Practice more with friends and family members so the first time you present it to a person isn’t during a high-stress interview. Soon you’ll be ready to sell yourself in a variety of situations, giving you the best chance to land your best job.