Why You Need an Elevator Speech
Sometimes an opportunity comes your way, maybe an introduction to someone who could help you land the job you want. Not being prepared with an elevator speech can mean a lost opportunity. Here's how to be ready.
We all could use an elevator speech. And if you ever plan to look for a job, or network, then you need an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a short persuasive speech to tell others about you, and to pique their interest in you. You should have your elevator speech polished and ready when the opportunity presents.
Today I was chatting with Laura, a senior year nursing student who is graduating in two weeks and hopes to work in our hospital. We were standing in the hall on the third floor outside the elevators when who should step off the elevator but my good friend and Versant Residency Director, Ashley.
Me to Ashley: "Hi, Ashley! Hey, let me introduce you to Laura. Laura has just submitted her Versant application."
Me to Laura: "Laura, meet Ashley! She's our Versant Residency Director. You want to remember her name! lol It's Ashley"
Laura extends hand: "Hi"
Laura missed a golden opportunity to make a lasting impression. Here she was, face-to-face with the person who is going to put her application in either the REJECT pile or the KEEP pile....and she missed the moment to make herself memorable.
What could Laura have done differently?
"Hi, Ashley. I'm so glad to meet you. I've heard such nice things about you from my Clinical Instructors. I've applied to your Versant program, and I want you to know I am passionate about Pediatrics. I want to work here because of the way your Pediatrics Program is growing. My son's pediatrician is Dr. Pal, and he practices here. He's told me several times how he prefers the nursing practice here at Happy Hospital.
My name is Laura Lee. I hope you'll take a second look at my application. Ashley, would it be OK if I call you later in the week to touch base?"
An Elevator Speech Should:
- Be short. Sixty seconds tops, thirty is better. Succinct but impactful.
- Be memorable (personal example helps).
- Be energetic and enthusiastic
- Be goal-oriented (networking, job seeking).
- Tell them what you're passionate about.
- End with a Call to Action if appropriate for the situation.
An elevator speech can be modified for use at a Meet and Greet, any networking function, a conference, or a job fair.
Here's an example of a very short job fair elevator speech. The goal here is to engage the recruiter in conversation, and to spark their interest.
"I'm Laura Lee, nice to meet you. I'm a newly graduated nurse. I've been in school forever, and can't wait to start my nursing career. I am passionate about Pediatric nursing. Can you tell me more about what your hospital is looking for?"
The more you practice, the better you will become. You have to practice out loud, and not just in your head. Without practice, you will tend to ramble and repeat yourself.
Again today, I talked with another 4th semester student who started out very focused.
"Hi, I love it here, it feels like family. I want to work in L&D. I've loved it ever since I cared for my sister when she had a long recovery following a C-section...."
She continued at length after that, but I confess I soon tuned her out for two reasons.
One, she is a soft-talker and her voice ebbed and flowed. We were in a noisy crowd of people and it became too hard to keep asking "What?, sorry?" Keep a strong, even pitch.
Two, I sensed there was no structure, and I could hear enough to realize she was circling round and round and repeating herself effusively.
Have a beginning. Have an ending.
Try using an elevator speech the next time someone asks "What do you do?" and gauge their reaction. Build on their response and refine your speech. Use it with the next person, and repeat.
Practice does make perfect!
Delivery is everything. You need to be poised and confident.
Don't be rushed, too intense, or overly effusive. Practice so that you sound casual and conversational.
Make eye contact and offer a firm handshake along with a genuine, warm smile.
Good luck! Having an elevator speech ready will help you be confident and ready when the opportunity presents.
Nurse BethLast edit by Joe V on Jun 15, '18
About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN
Nurse Beth is an Educator, Writer, Blogger and Subject Matter Expert who blogs about nursing career advice at http://nursecode.com
Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,382; Likes: 4,122May 12, '15Interesting!
In today's employment milieu anything that helps a prospective job seeker gain an edge is POSITIVE. Have never thought about this and I'm a talker. This wouldn't be too diff for me - I always found composing for 'the written word' easy.
I always liked a handshake. To me, handshakes were always a typical MAN-THING the guys were comfortable with. Took me a while to get used to giving a handshake that I was relaxed with. I found if I initiated the handshake, it felt good. I found extending a hand to visiting families was positive.Last edit by amoLucia on May 12, '15 : Reason: etaMay 12, '15This is so relevant for students. I recently landed myself on an elevator with the CNO and DON at a hospital I was doing clinicals at. They introduced themselves and asked me how I was enjoying clinicals at their hospital. I tried to give my best answer but I left the elevator feeling like I should have said more. The truth is I had already applied to their residency program and was not selected but you never know who can help you if you make a good impression!May 14, '15I didn't get my first job due to what I said on an elevator, but rather due to a discussion at a babysitting job.
I was chatting with the childrens' father. He asked me about nursing school and my graduation, which was coming up shortly. He asked me what specialty I wanted to work in. I told him I wanted to work in psych. He asked me if I'd applied to "X Hospital," and I said, "Oh, not, they don't have any jobs for psych nurses." He said he was pretty sure they did, and I again repeated that I didn't think they had any jobs, and that I hadn't even bothered to apply there. Then I said jokingly, "Do you have some kind of insider information?"
With a smile, he said, "Well, I'm the CEO of the hospital, and I know for a fact that we are looking for psych nurses. I think you should apply for a job in the new psych unit we're opening." Talk about wanting the earth to just swallow me up. I had no idea he was the CEO of the hospital; trust me, I wanted to kill the person who referred me for that babysitting job for not telling me he was in charge of "X Hospital." That would have been important information to know.
It gets better...or worse, depending on your perspective. I got an interview, but it was smack in the middle of my night shift rotation. I was unaccustomed to night shift, so of course, during the interview my eyes got heavy, and I struggled to stay awake. In spite of my drowsiness, and in spite of my conversation with the CEO, I got the job...my first job out of nursing school.May 18, '15Can I ask what your looking for during the interview process and with the resumes? I have had several nursing jobs already, but can't land one I really want or a hospital job. I think I'm horrible at interviewing, and my resume' needs improvement, but I'm not sure how to improve it. I actually had a professional resume writing company write one for me, and was still told it needed improvements. I have asked this question before on this site, but never get a response. Does age make a difference in getting hired?
Thank you for any responses in advance!May 23, '15Quote from nursepenelopeResumes must stand out bc it's so competitive. They must be visually appealing (format, use of white space, bullet points are good). You need to modify your resume to each employer to show how you are a good fit for them. Identify keywords in their job description (teamwork, professionalism, respect) and reflect those back in your resume using examples.Can I ask what your looking for during the interview process and with the resumes? I have had several nursing jobs already, but can't land one I really want or a hospital job. I think I'm horrible at interviewing, and my resume' needs improvement, but I'm not sure how to improve it. I actually had a professional resume writing company write one for me, and was still told it needed improvements. I have asked this question before on this site, but never get a response. Does age make a difference in getting hired?
Thank you for any responses in advance!
Interviewing is your real time chance to show them what a good fit you are for their organization and nursing unit. You want to prepare for questions such as "Tell us about a time you (resolved a conflict with a coworker, went above & beyond in customer, service, etc"). Meaning ahead of time, prepare a couple of examples from your past on conflict skills, patient satisfaction/customer service.
Practice ahead of time answering "Why should we hire you?" and "Tell us about yourself"
Good luck to you, I wish you the best in landing a great nursing job. Soon.May 23, '15They saw the real you through the grogginess and the caught-off-guardness. Congrats. I love those kind of stories.May 24, '15Lol and to think 36 years ago, I walked into Personnel, fresh out of college, with a shiny new BSN, and filled out an application. The Personnel lady looked at it, asked if I had time to talk to the Head Nurse of the about to be opened Pediatric unit. Of course I said "Yes", my dream job was Pediatrics. Never mind that I was in jeans and a t-shirt, since I was just planning on filling out applications at area hospitals. Up to the unit we went. Thirty minutes later I walked out with my first job. I don't envy new grads nowadays.May 25, '15Quote from Jensmom7No kidding! Boy how times have changed. It hasn't been quite as long for me, but when I started my first nursing job it was at the place I was already employed as first a CNA then as a nurse tech. Got a hefty sign on bonus besides! Never even had an interview and as I'm still at the same place still haven't ever had an interview. Frankly if I am in a position to need to I'll be terrified!Lol and to think 36 years ago, I walked into Personnel, fresh out of college, with a shiny new BSN, and filled out an application. The Personnel lady looked at it, asked if I had time to talk to the Head Nurse of the about to be opened Pediatric unit. Of course I said "Yes", my dream job was Pediatrics. Never mind that I was in jeans and a t-shirt, since I was just planning on filling out applications at area hospitals. Up to the unit we went. Thirty minutes later I walked out with my first job. I don't envy new grads nowadays.
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