Steps To A Two-Minute Sell: Create an Effective “Elevator Pitch”
by Tom Washington

Every job seeker should develop a two-minute sell. At job fairs, in telephone screening interviews, during on-site screening interviews, or when talking to someone at a professional association meeting, your two-minute sell will open doors for you. A two-minute sell is simply a prepared spiel that quickly covers all of the key things that employers and others should know about you.

For greatest impact, do not memorize your two-minute sell. Modify it each time by adding or deleting certain points. Go with your internal sense of what will prove most useful to cover.

Those who produce the best two-minute spiels have spent time examining past accomplishments and contributions, and have identified their very top skills. Your competitors who try to create a two-minute sell without having examined their accomplishments will not be as effective.

Identify 4-6 key points you want an employer to know about you

These points might include:

  • Your education, degree(s), major
  • Why you’re interested in the position or the type of work
  • Why you’re attracted to the organization
  • A summary of your work/volunteer experience with emphasis on successes
  • A brief description of your current or most recent position
  • A brief description of the job you’ve held that is most similar to the one you’re interviewing for
  • Two or three major strengths with one key example that demonstrates all of them
  • Contributions you’ve made in jobs, in internships, or in voluntary roles
  • Quantifiable results
  • Awards
  • Paraphrasing letters of appreciation from internal and external customers
  • A paraphrased description of job reviews, mentioning only positives
  • A summary of a project that demonstrates key skills

List the points you want to make. Do not write your two-minute sell word for word. Then begin practicing. Hone it until you can give it in two minutes. Ask yourself: Is it interesting?  Will it hold the attention of the interviewer?  Is it well organized?  Have I instilled a visual image in the person’s mind that will help that person remember me?  Have I sold key personal qualities? Have I convinced them I have the necessary technical skills? Will they sense my commitment and my ability to contribute.

That may be a lot to ask of just two minutes, but it’s amazing what you can do when you’re prepared.

Continue to improve your two-minute sell throughout your job search.
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