There is a saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know", that really captures the career journey. The elevator pitch is something that helps increase the number of people you know and when done right can lead to people feeling invested in your career and success. Read on to learn the tips on how to do it right.
The way to a new job is clear. At least 70% and maybe even as many as 85% of new jobs are secured through networking like networking events, informational interviewing, reconnecting with your current network and even social media networking.
You know what that means, you need a great elevator pitch as anytime you talk to someone new or reconnect with someone you haven’t spoken with in a while you will need to tell them a bit about yourself and what you are looking for. You want to hook someone in, someone who either wants to hire you or feels invested enough in your future to advocate for you within their own network. They won’t feel that way if you don’t create a connection with a good elevator pitch.
Are you in a role and company that you love and think that this doesn’t apply to you? Well I have news for you, it does! I have heard about CEOs who literally get into the elevator every day and ask a different person for their elevator pitch. I know one who points to someone and says “elevator pitch – go!” I know another who is a little more subtle, “so what do you do here?” Think about wowing the head of your company and what sort of opportunities could arise from that, simply from having an elevator pitch.
So what is an elevator pitch exactly? It is a quick, compelling short story about who you are, what you are looking for and how you add value. You are selling yourself as a product right? Think of the pitch as your “commercial” and remember that it allows you to create a lasting impression leading to stronger connections with individuals.
Things to ponder:
Before crafting your pitch there are a few things that I want you to keep in mind about the perfect elevator pitch:
Some Tips for Success:
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Want a way to get ahead in your career while at the same time growing your network and your skill set? Finding a mentor is a simple yet effective way, don’t believe me (or a little scared to put yourself out there?) read on to learn why you need one and how to cultivate a lasting mentoring relationship.
One of the first things I did when I began this journey into Career Coaching was to find some mentors to help me on my path. I found a mentor who had been doing Career Coaching for 15 years and I found a mentor who could teach me the nuts and bolts of running a business. Both have been instrumental in the growth of this little venture of mine. During my meetings with them I learned a lot and gained their support. It is nice to have someone I can go to with questions and to be my own sounding board. It has been invaluable.
It doesn’t matter if you are a little lost or if you have your 10 year career plan set in stone, a mentor helps you discover crucial insights by presenting things in a different light while teaching you things that you would not have learned otherwise. A study done at Sun Mircosystems looking at internal mentoring relationships found that those employees that did receive mentoring were promoted 5x more often than those who didn’t. Crazy! And 3 out of 4 senior executives listed mentoring as one of the key factors to them getting to where they are today (page 10). Wow. I bet it was some of the insider information like how to navigate an organization’s politics and how to sell themselves more effectively that really helped those individuals climb up the ladder.
A mentor is not just for your professional growth, they also help with your personal growth. Since they have been there and done that they know how to give a career your all while still managing to strike a balance to enjoy the things that matter most to you. They have, through trial and error, figured a lot of the little things and getting that knowledge can save you time and headaches on your path. They also know what soft skills you need to develop – for example problem solving, leadership and communication skills that are vital to one’s growth.
Never mind all the people they know. A mentor from your company or industry has developed a vast network. They can give you the tips and tricks on what worked and what didn’t for them to create all those connections. Plus, building a strong relationship with them will open up their network to you, giving you access you may never have had before.
Now that I’ve hopefully sold you on finding a mentor. I want to tell you about the 3 main mentoring relationships that you could and should develop:
1.Organizational Mentoring Relationship
This is someone from your own organization. A lot of companies have their own Mentoring Program developed that are typically initiated through HR or your manager. If they don’t have a formal program, don’t fret! During your next performance review (usually the best time) or a performance check in (typically every quarter), specifically when you and your manager are discussing your Personal Growth Plan, ask for assistance in securing a mentor. Be clear about your career goals and list some precise things you would be looking for in a mentor. If you feel your manager is the ideal candidate for this than straight out ask them!
2.Formal Mentoring Relationship
This is ideal when you want a mentor from outside of your organization, say in your industry of choice or with someone in your ideal career while you navigate a career change. Asking to start this type of relationship can feel scary, I get it, but there are ways and places you can go to for help.
One amazing resource is MentorCity. They are a formal organization for business, education, professional associations and individuals. You will fill out a profile and what is important to you and you will be matched up with potential mentors. They also have resources that guide you in establishing a relationship. I use it through the Human Resources Professional Association of Ontario and am currently mentoring two individuals.
Another way to find a mentor is to seek out informational interviews with people. Perhaps during your call with them the advice they gave you was what you needed to hear or maybe the two of you just hit it off. If that is the case, put yourself out there! Tell them and ask, you could say something like “This conversation has been exactly what I needed. I’ve really appreciated your openness and candor and was wondering if you would consider mentoring me?”
3. Informal Mentoring Relationships
If all of that seems just too much for you right now then don’t worry, you can still create relationships with people without having the definition of mentor and mentee. Actually if you approach everyone you meet as someone you can learn from, in no time flat you will have a team of informal mentors!
This relationship could start at work with a respected peer, your manager or someone whose opinion you value. You could initiate the relationship by asking to grab a coffee or lunch. During the conversation you would discuss your career and your goals and simply ask for some advice. That could be it. Or you could keep them updated on how you are taking their advice and you could ask for any other tips or tricks that they may have. To note though, all the conversations should NOT revolve around you and your career. Talk about yourself outside of work, ask them questions about their career and life too. This is still a colleague, you want to get to know them.
Outside of your workplace you can still forge a similar relationship with someone already in your network (suggesting a catch up coffee or phone call). Growing your network through networking events or informational interviews. The keys are still asking for advice, follow up and then perhaps asking for some more advice.
Tips and Tricks:
Mentoring is an amazing way that we can take control over our career path, it feels great to be the master of our own story rather than an audience member doesn’t it?
It is just another secret to success. Did you want some more Behind the Scenes Secrets? Every week in my newsletter, I give one that I’ve learned from my fifteen years in Recruitment and Talent Acquisition. You can access last week’s newsletter here and sign up to get each week’s secret straight to your inbox every Friday.
Want to get ahead in your career by landing that dream job or promotion? Figuring out your superpower sets you apart from your peers and competition. Read on to learn about 3 different assessments that will help you.
I love assessments. I love everything about them and do them every chance that I get. Some may think it is a little weird but I get lots of valuable insights from them, insights on how I deal with people, how I make decisions or seek out information, and what are the underlying factors that motivate to succeed.
I believe that the knowledge we gain through doing assessments gives us the confidence and the tools to pursue our dreams and to figuring out our superpowers and how we can use them to our advantage.
Think about all of those strengths questions you get in an interview and think about using the results of the assessments – it will give your answer so much oomph and depth. Think about selling yourself, your superpower is key to ensuring you stand out from the crowd!
My superpower is being able to get to the core of a person, often within minutes and even over the phone. This is something that I’ve always known and it wasn’t until university and taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) that I learned this is common as an INFJ. This is a superpower that I use every day as a career coach and recruiter. But also, knowing this gave me the confidence to make the leap into this career!
There are so many assessments out there and many provide a lot of valuable information. I wanted to discuss three that I love most. By doing these assessments you will get a full picture of what motivates you, what you bring to the table and the environment that will support your growth.
1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most famous personality assessments and is used widely throughout the world in education and business.
After completing the assessment you will be assigned one of 16 different personality types based on a combination of preferences regarding 4 factors:
Where we get our energy from: Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
How we take in information: Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
How we make decisions: Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
How we approach the world: Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)
What I love about it: I love how researched it is which means the information is valid and reliable. I love how it paints a picture of what I need to be the best of me. As an I, I need lot of time to myself. As a J, structure is like a blanket – so comforting! It also has given me an awareness of how others work best – for those that are P (structure suffocates them), I know not to overwhelm them with plans, for those that are T (make objective decisions using facts and their heads), I know how to present them the information that they need to make the decision that is best for them.
Me: INFJ, this is a rare personality type. An INFJ is an idealist with a strong sense of morality. They are dreamers but the J allows them to make the plans and take the steps to fulfill their dreams. INFJs create strong connections with people which requires them to take a lot of time by themselves to recharge and tend to leave a lasting positive impact.
Test Link: www.16personalities.com (free!)
2. StrengthsFinder 2.0 (now CliftonStrengths)
I have heard a lot about StrengthsFinder over the past two years and its “scary accurate” results, so of course I had to take it. It looks at a person’s “talent themes” see to what skills they can develop relatively easily and which types of roles lead to success.
I haven’t found a good free assessment, so I can only recommend the paid version. It is a 177 questions (30-40 minutes), each question is a pair of statements and you have to say which is most like you in a specified amount of time and will give you your 5 Strengths (out of 34).
What I love about it: I love how it is specific to the workplace which means it can really provide great information for career changes or determining how to navigate your current company. It also provides information on how you can leverage your strengths to be successful.
Me: My five are:
1. Input – craving to know more, an information gatherer (also a classic INFJ characteristic).
2. Intellection – known for their intellect.
3. Connectedness – believe that there are no such thing as coincidences.
4. Learner – continuous improver and lover of learning
5. Empathy – great at putting themselves in other’s shoes.
Test Link: www.gallupstrengthscenter.com
3. Enneagram Test
This is the newest assessment that I’ve seen making the rounds. The Enneagram has 9 different types (each represented by a number) focusing on how we think, feel and act in with the world, people and themselves – really getting at the core of our motivations.
What I love about it: Motivations are tricky for people to truly understand and I love how this assessment gives us that information. This allows us to understand why we make certain choices, how we may react and what may be holding us back giving us what we need to make that crucial first step!
Me: 2, Considerate Helper and 6, Loyalist and 7, Enthusiast
Twos desire to be liked and appreciated. Sixes are fiercely loyal, and trustworthy. Sevens are energetic and optimistic, they feel like they are useful to the world.
Test Link: https://enneagramtest.net (free!)
Have you ever done an assessment that you have found illuminating and “scary accurate”? I would love to hear some of your types and numbers, so if you do one of these tests please let me know!
If you need help finding your superpower, then I have the challenge for you!
The Find Your Way to Career Happiness Challenge - a free 5 day ecourse full of videos, a Facebook group and lots of support on helping your on your way.
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
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