Veterans Need a Good Elevator Pitch, Too

British business man hands in meeting London UK

By Peter A. Gudmundsson

The term "elevator pitch" emerged from the entrepreneurial world. It describes the summary sales pitch a startup company CEO would need to have memorized in case she found herself riding in an elevator with a targeted venture capitalist.

The concept is simple. You have less than 30 seconds to describe who you are, what you want to do and your next specific action step to realize this goal. The limited duration of the "elevator ride" requires the speaker to focus intently on the who, what and why of his or her offering.

All job seekers, but especially military veterans and others who are switching functions or industries, need to develop, utilize and refine a concise, compelling and accurate elevator pitch. It is the primary communication tool people use to differentiate themselves and create lasting impressions. Since networking or leveraging social networks is the most effective job search strategy, it is critical that transitioning candidates leave a memorable and effective impression with the employers and other resources they meet along the way in their search.

Whether in a job fair, informational interview or a casual social conversation, every human meeting is a chance for the job seeker to move one step closer to a job offer. Most people want to be helpful, but in order to do so, they have to understand very clearly who you are, what you are seeking to accomplish and why they should care.