Create the perfect elevator pitch in 15 seconds

Published Apr 16, 2024


NAVIGATING the job market can be a rollercoaster of fears. The fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection and fear of not finding the right fit.

And South Africa’s high unemployment rate makes job-hunting even more of a challenge for many individuals.

According to StatsSA’s latest quarterly labour force survey, the current official unemployment rate is 32.6%. What’s more concerning is that 59.6% of young South Africans between the ages of 15 and 24 are not employed or in further training/education; while 34.5% of those looking for work are still unemployed.

Being an active job seeker in the labour market may be a long and tedious journey that requires patience and persistence - and having a positive attitude is important. Job seekers should remain ready to seize opportunities, as recruiters and HR professionals are always looking for top talent.

One of the most empowering tools to have in a job-scarce environment is a well-crafted elevator pitch - a brief and persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what you do. It can help you land a job interview, network with people or pitch an idea.

Here are some tips from MindMatch to put together the perfect elevator pitch:

Focus on career

Reflect on your career; consider your goals and aspirations. Tailor your pitch to showcase your path and what brings you fulfilment.

Your industry

Think about the industry you work in; and stay updated on industry trends and tech. Learn from successful individuals and network in order to tailor your pitch according to industry expectations.

Job description

Dive deep into that job description. Pick out keywords and requirements, and tailor your pitch to match the role. Showcase your impact with numbers and metrics.

Draft and refine

Write out your pitch in draft form. Start strong, focus on what you can bring to the table, and ditch the jargon. Practise, practise and practise – refine your pitch for clarity, flow and timing.

Seek feedback

Get your friends or career squad to review your pitch. Adapt it for different applications, while keeping your core message intact.

“If you are going for a job that you have no experience doing, then your pitch should highlight elements such as your achievements, strengths and cultural alignment,” advises Clarese Kuhn from MindMatch.

Do some homework on the organisation you are trying to secure an interview with. Pay special attention to the company’s core business and services as well to its corporate values, vision and mission. Knowing this kind of information can make you stand out, and help you overcome gatekeepers and barriers to that first face-to-face interaction.

Focusing on keywords linked to the job will also attract a potential recruiter or hiring manager’s attention. Refrain from including how loyal and hardworking you are, as these attributes should be a given – and there simply isn’t time for this in an effective and punchy pitch.