Are you looking for work or considering a career change? Then you need a 60-second statement AKA elevator pitch!
In this article, I’m going to explain WHY you need a 60-second statement WHEN you’re going to use it, WHAT you need to include in it, and demonstrate HOW you can use it. Stay till the end and I’ll give you a fill-in-the-blank template and example to help you craft your own 60-second statement.
So what is a 60 Second Statement – well just like it sounds… it’s a brief introductory description summarizing your background, experience and career value, that you have memorized enough that you can comfortably say it at any time. It’s a great tool for ‘selling’ yourself to a potential employer when actively job searching, it can be used for general business networking and it is handy for social occasions to help break the ice or generate small talk with someone new who asks you what do you do for work?
Why You Need a 60-Second Statement:
So, let’s start off by talking about WHY you need a 60-second statement. When you’re in job search mode, every encounter you have with another person can be a potential opportunity to network, and possibly help you further your career and land your next job. Therefore, it’s super important to be as ready as possible to always make your best impression. You never know when you’ll bump into someone and strike up a conversation that leads to you mentioning you are looking for work, or the person just says “so what do you do for a living?” This person could potentially be your future boss, they may have a friend or relative they know that’s looking to hire someone with your background or the company they work for may have opportunities for which they can recommend you. This is your chance to summarize your value and impress them with your 60-second statement!
When to Use Your 60-Second Statement:
Whether you meet someone at a bus stop, a dinner party with friends, your chatting with the bartender at the pub, you are attending a networking or business event, you run into an old friend or former co-worker on the street, or if you are like me, I tend to strike up a conversation with whoever is standing next to me in the grocery store line. Being armed and ready with your 60-second statement will give you confidence and ease in talking about yourself and helping you pursue potential job opportunities.
What Needs to Be In Your 60-Second Statement:
Now let’s talk about what needs to be in your 60-second statement. You need to keep it concise, relevant, informative, and interesting.
You want to include the following:
- Your background – this can include your education, number of years of experience, industry experience and current or former relevant positions.
- Skills – include 2 or 3 skills that are relevant to your target position/industry.
- Position target – include what career position you want.
- Accomplishments – if possible have an accomplishment you can briefly mention that demonstrates your skills, abilities, and attributes.
What to Include and Not Include:
There are a few things to keep in mind when crafting your 60-second statement…
Keep it Professionally Relevant – When someone says “tell me about yourself” unless you are on a date, they are likely referring to your background, experience, and skills…so keep it professional.
Avoid Cliché Terms – Avoid using cliché words to describe yourself or your strengths. These are words like “hardworking, trustworthy, honest, loyal, dependable, responsible” while you likely are all those things…. these are things an employer ‘expects’ you to be.
Find creative power words to describe your strengths and tie them to a brief example demonstrating the use of that skill…. Here’s an example:
“I am a creative and collaborative planner known for my investigative and outside-the-box problem-solving. When I joined ABC Company 2 years ago as operations manager, the company had a poor customer service rating and production costs were high. I performed an in-depth analysis by talking to customers, production staff, and management to assess and gather information, identifying several areas for improvement. I reconfigured the production line schedules which reduced OT costs and overly stressed line workers, improved logistics through a new carrier, and implemented a customer follow-up program to ensure satisfaction. Within 6 months the company saw a 29% reduction in OT costs, improved production line outputs by 15%, and our customer satisfaction rating increased by 2 points.”
Refine Your Statement and Practice It:
Take the time to write out and practice your 60-second statement. It’s okay to have a couple of variations ….one for more business-type situations like networking events and one for more casual or social occasions where the person you are speaking to may not relate to your accomplishment examples quite the same way.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “practice makes perfect” – the more you practice the more it will feel natural and comfortable and your recall will be better when you are put on the spot when you are nervous in an interview or anxiously trying to impress that big-wig in 30 seconds while you ride up the elevator together.
If public speaking makes you anxious, then ask your family members and friends if you can practice in front of them to help build your confidence. Hey practice in front of a toddler or your dog – they won’t criticize you! Then when you’re ready take your practice to the next level, try chatting someone up in the grocery store line, at the coffee shop, someone you see on the bus frequently, or the person sitting next to you at the bar.
My 60 Statement Is Ready, Now What?:
Here’s an example that demonstrates how you can use your 60-second statement and why it is so beneficial to have one prepared.
Let say you are standing in the line at Starbucks and you recognize a former colleague from a company you worked for 8 years ago…. the conversation may go something like this…
Sarah: “Hi Mike, long time no see, how are you? Are you still working at XYZ Company?”
Mike: “Hi Sarah, yes I am. I’ve been there for 14 years now. I have moved up the ranks and am now the VP of Marketing.”
Sarah: “Congratulations Mike that’s great!”
Mike: “So where are you working now Sarah?”
Sarah: “Well Mike, I have been busy since I left XYZ 8 years ago. I completed my bachelor’s in marketing while working for ABC Company the past 3 years. I rebranded the entire company 12 months ago and designed their new website with an extremely effective e-commerce component which has resulted in increasing the company’s online sales by 47% over the past 9 months.
It was a great project and gave me the chance to demonstrate my creativity, collaborate throughout all levels of the company, seek input from clients, and I have also noticed an improvement in the team-culture of the company. I am open to new challenges and would really like to move into a management role next so if your company happens to need a Marketing Professional, I would love to share my resume with you.”
Mike: “That sounds great Sarah – yes, absolutely, here’s my card, email me your resume and let’s chat further by phone next week.”
Here is a novel approach for that bigwig you have been hoping to bump into when he is ordering a coffee or waiting for the elevator (let’s say he is the Director of Marketing and Business Development):
“Hi Jim (or Mr. Jones if you prefer or don’t know him well), I’ve been hoping to run into you and would like to ask for your advice quickly. (Don’t ask for his permission to ask him a question….be assertive and get straight to the point!) (it is doubtful he will say no so don’t hesitate…get right to it!) …
I recently completed my BA at the University of Michigan majoring in Marketing and I have been working as a social media specialist in the marketing division for the past 3 years. My goal is to move into upper management. Do you have any suggestions on what steps I should take to get help me get there?”
If Mr. Jones is a savvy and well-respected businessman he won’t want to look like a fool by saying “I don’t know” so he’ll likely either suggest you book a time for a meeting with him or he’ll refer you to someone who can give you the answers you seek.
Here’s a fill-in-the-blank style template you can use as a foundation for developing your own 60-second statement.
I recently completed my [B.A., degree, certificate] in __ (field of study) ___ from the University/College of ________. I’ve spent the last ______ years working in the ________ industry where I honed my skills in ___(power skill)____, ___(power skill)____ and ___(power skill)____ as a _(position title)__. I now want to put my degree to use and transition into a __ (title of target job) __ position.
“I have a Bachelor of Management in Business Economics and recently completed my Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship from the University of Washington. I have spent the last 8 years working in the industrial safety supplies sector where I honed my skills in team leadership, business development, and performance management as an Account Manager and currently District Sales Manager for the past 4 years. I now want to put my degree to use and transition into a senior management position in Business Development.”
What you’ve learned here is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to job search strategies and tips. To learn more, check out my YouTube channel (VirtualJobSearchCoach), where I post new content to help job seekers like you, determine, pursue, and land their dream job!
If you would like one-to-one coaching to equip you with the confidence, necessary tools, critical knowledge, and strategies to find and land your ideal job – then let’s talk! You can book a complimentary 15 minute discover call directly in my calendar at https://calendly.com/virtualstacey and let’s chat about how I can help you fast-track your job search success.