You are in a lift with a potential employer and you have until they reach their office on the 8th floor to describe who you are, what you do and why they should hire you … would you know what to say?
When I was made redundant from a safety position I asked my career advice coach how she thought I should introduce myself. Though I consider myself a student of life, I could hardly say I was studying, and in fact, the only thought running through my mind was replying “I am in between jobs right now” which I cringed at the sound of. My coach’s answer was to reply “I am a health and safety professional”, resorting to explaining my employment situation if it came to that.
I use that advice to this day and it is a great icebreaker – it’s even on my business cards – but what does being a health and safety professional mean to people outside of the safety discipline? And how do I describe to someone who I am and what I want in a succinct and yet eloquent manner? In short: What is my elevator pitch?
To answer that question I really had to do some soul searching to determine just what it is about safety that keeps me interested, what it is that I wish to achieve, and my desirable working conditions. After reflecting on some previous employment highs and lows, some challenges and achievements I constructed the below two statements:
I create an environment of systemic and cultural excellence that teaches people how to be safe, and then empowers them to do so for the good of all stakeholders.
My preference is to align myself with larger, preferably national or global organisations so that I can work within their existing frameworks to promote consistent and sustainable improvement in the health and safety discipline.
That’s it, that is my elevator pitch. Two sentences that I feel sum up who I am, my working mission, and my preferred employment direction. They are short, sharp and to the point, they can be articulated or placed strategically into emails to people who request my resume, and I feel they help create a favourable frame of mind through which my resume is viewed.
Reflection on why you do your job is a good thing – it helps to encourage you to get up every morning and head off to work – but to summarise it into an elevator pitch provides clarity and direction for your audience, including the most important member: yourself.
*Ding* 8th floor. What was your elevator pitch?