Cultivating Networks —> Your Elevator Speech

Photo by Jeff Tabaco

Photo by Jeff Tabaco

Optimizing your Career Fair Experience #2

Elevator speaking

Perhaps you are familiar with an elevator speech, perhaps you have written one, perhaps you are clueless as to what one is. In any case, you need to be thinking of your elevator speech in your job search and especially at career fairs.

Wikipedia defines an elevator speech as this: An elevator pitch is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch should be possible to deliver in the time span of an elevator ride, meaning in a maximum of 30 seconds and in 130 words or fewer.

Jason Alba recently wrote a blog post on JibberJobber called “What is your 5 Second Elevator Speech?” He redefines the time for an elevator speech to 5 seconds saying that your audience could get bored with a 30-second version. In today’s world, he is probably right. We speak in Twitter-speak of 140 characters per tweet, shortening our thoughts to concise statements and anything longer is too long for Twitter rules. We’re an impatient society.

Jennifer McClure, known as CincyRecruiter on Twitter recently wrote a very popular post entitled, “Can your awesomeness be contained to 7 Words?” She challenged people to take this test and see what they come up with. Her Twitter bio reads: Executive Recruiter/Coach passionate about connecting leaders & opportunities.”  I shared my current business card slogan, “Change your career stress into career success!”

Jim Connolly‘s Twitter bio reads: “I help small business to boost their sales & profits!” He coaches his clients to be able to succinctly say what you do so that the person who meets you or sees you on Twitters knows right away what you do and what you can do for them.

So when someone asks you what you do, can you answer with your 5 second elevator speech? When you are at a career fair, your networking opportunities with future employees are not likely to be a lengthy conversation. You need to grab them with the first words. What do you do, how can you eliminate their pain, how can you solve their problems — in your 5 second elevator speech?

If you get this down, you will network more effectively and connect your way to the next position.

Your assignment: Share your 5-second elevator speech here –> I’ll have my trusted advisors choose a winner and ask Jason Alba to ship you a copy of LinkedIn for Jobseekers!


  1. Faith Draper on February 11, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I’m going to have to really work on this I tend to be nervous when meeting new people and when I’m nervous I talk too much… I know I’m doing it but haven’t figured out how NOT to do it – this is something I need to get over, have more confidence in myself.

  2. Melissa on February 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Oh, yes! Life moves at a fast and furious pace. Reducing your personal brand to a sound bite lets you get in that hook so you don’t lose your audience.

    (Your slogan is great, BTW!)
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..What Children Can Teach Us About Career Management, Part 1 =-.

Resume Design and Job Seeking Tips

Here are Design Resumes' latest articles on job search, resume design, resume writing, and Linkedin optimization articles I've written.

FREE Resume and Job Search Tips by email

Get free tips and strategy direct to your inbox. just add your name and email below. I respect your privacy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

Here are ways I can help you land your dream job.

You may be halfway across the country or the world. When you work with me, we share coffee, laughs, and concerns. This turns the scary job search into creative, consultative writing and learning sessions.