Less Than a Minute to Win It: Effective Networking in 45 seconds or less

Posted by Valerie Morrow

Jul 1, 2014 3:00:00 PM

Networking tips for online students, mastering the elevator speechLast week we introduced you to the vlog series, Grantham Guides, where we looked at questions like “Why do we write essays?” Today, we take on the question, “What’s the key to effective networking?”

The answer doesn’t involve printing 6,000 business cards or eating certain foods. The answer lies in crafting a well-developed elevator pitch that highlights your skills and the value of your online degree program.

So, what is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief synopsis of who you are and what you can do — like a personal branding statement. Most of the time it’s a tactic that salespeople or entrepreneurs use, but I think there’s value for everyone. The reason it's called an elevator speech according to this article is that, “in theory, you're supposed to imagine you're articulating the entire statement to a busy executive or hiring manager in the time it takes to complete an elevator ride.”

It is no longer than 30 to 60 seconds. This “pitch” gives you a chance to market yourself to a prospective employer or someone who can help you get a job like a mentor or recruiter. But believe me, no matter how much you think you can wing it, you can’t. It takes thought, strategy and, most of all, practice.

What should I include in my “speech?”
You know you have what it takes to be an online student. Now it’s time to work on your elevator pitch. When you start developing your speech, it may seem like you are back in boot camp, but it does get easier. For example, you want to clarify your job target, which involves knowing your career goals and how you want to pursue them. Here are some other tips to help you:

  • Answer important questions: Who are you? What do you do? How are you looking to help a company prosper?

  • Take a “what’s in it for them” approach: You don’t want to brag about yourself. Instead, talk about their needs. For instance, you wouldn’t tell a potential employer you want a job to make money. You tell him or her that you want to help their company grow.
  • Keep it short, focused and honest: Once you have your elevator pitch, write it down on paper. Recite it to a friend or family member for feedback. After it is polished, practice until you can recite it without looking — and time yourself not to go over the 60-second limit.

What if I’m not in an elevator?
I appreciate your literalness but your elevator pitch most likely won’t even happen in an elevator. Rather, you’ll turn to it in impromptu moments like at a networking event or a job fair. It may be through an introduction of a mutual friend. Whether you’ve graduated from your online degree program or are still taking classes, you never know when the proverbial doors of life will open with an opportunity to take you to the top.

Photo credit: http://resources.alljobopenings.com

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About Grantham
Grantham offers a variety of career services designed to help students earning their online associates degree, bachelor’s or masters degree in their professional development. Whether you’re earning an online cybersecurity certificate, online business management degree, or anything in between, Grantham’s career center is here to help you reach your professional goals. Student and alumni looking for military friendly employers can join our online job portal to explore current job opportunities.


Topics: Career Tips

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Welcome to the Grantham University Blog! The purpose of this blog is to offer helpful resources to future, current and former online students wanting to excel in the distance learning environment and thrive in a competitive workplace. Visit us every day for fresh posts.