When someone starts a conversation with you and asks you to tell them about yourself, how do you respond? Most of us have heard the concept of an elevator speech in terms of the company we work for. From a career perspective, you also need to be able to tell your own story in a clear concise way. After all, there’s a lot of truth in the old saying that it’s not what you know, but rather who you know. You never know when you are going to run into someone who could be the gateway to your next opportunity.
The trick here is the clear and concise part. We’ve all run into the person at a networking event or cocktail reception that will not droning on about every little detail about their life. Don’t be that person.
If you’ve read any of our posts about creating your individual development plan, you will know that there are some common elements that should make their way into everyone’s plan. These elements will also provide the foundation for your personal elevator story.
Start by answering these questions:
What am I good at? We all have a skill or set of skills we are known for. For some of us, this has been a skill that has been present our entire life. For others, it’s a skill that we have worked hard to develop either through formal education or on the job training. I had a colleague once who was the best salesperson I had ever worked with. When I asked her about it, she told me she knew this would be her career from the time she was in elementary school and would always win the fundraising contests at her school.
What am I passionate about? This question gets to the heart of what fuels your engine when it comes to work. Do you find yourself drawn to assignments where you get to work with and interact with other people, or are you more interested in working with ideas and concepts? Is there a part of your job that you would (figuratively of course) do, even if you weren’t getting paid to do it?
Your personality plays a part in both skills and passion. Who you are naturally will influence the types of things you are drawn to, and consequently good at. The Proception2 assessment can help with this identification process.
The combination of your skills and passions is what sets you apart from others you work with. Sometimes called genius, it’s the starting point for identifying what drives you toward work assignments or organizations.
Once you have a good feel for skills and passions, ask yourself, how do I meet organizational needs? Every company has goals and objectives that are being worked on. Think about times when you have used your genius to help solve one of these goals and objectives. See if you can come up with one or two specific examples.
Once you have answered these three questions, take that information and see if you can write a 1 to 2 sentence summary that describes who you are and what your value is.
Armed with your new elevator speech, you’ll be prepared for the next time someone asks you to tell them something about yourself. After all, you never know when that conversation will be with your future employer.