How to stand out in two minutes

Everyone wants to stand out, but how much of a good impression do you think you could make in a two-minute elevator pitch?

In a recent article by CNBC, writer Priscilla Tan sets out a few pieces of advice for graduates looking to make an impact in optimum time. As she explains, “When you're talking about yourself, you're introducing your brand to the world.” This idea of presenting ourselves as brands is a concept that has been floating around for a while, especially in this age of celebrity social media influencers.

She begins by recalling an instance from her childhood where a new teacher asked the class to introduce themselves. Each followed a similar format and by the time the last child spoke, they had all blurred into one. Herein lies the first lesson: in order to be memorable, you must do things differently.

You may think that explaining yourself in a few short seconds is impossible, but you don’t need to tell the potential employer your whole story – just enough to pique their interest and leave them wanting more. She reveals her two options for the ultimate elevator pitch…

Option 1: Find your “why”

You may have noticed how when you ask about someone’s work occupation, they say what they do, rather than why they do it. However, by referencing why you do what you do – for instance, “I’m a writer because I’ve been crafting stories since before I was even able to read” – can make you seem altogether more human and personable.

Ask yourself, why are you pursuing this career path and why are you so passionate about it? Alternatively, you could sprinkle in a fact, a joke or recent achievement to help your meeting stick in their brain.

Option 2: Share your impact

Now is the time to look at yourself with favourable eyes. Ask yourself, what have you achieved recently? What problems – big or small – have you been solving? In other words, what do you bring to a team, what do you deliver and what is it that makes you different? If you’re unsure, look through your CV, references, performance reviews or testimonials to determine where you have succeeded in the past.

Tan cites the example of describing her work as a copywriter. She explains that instead of saying “I write words for people” she says, "I help start-ups and entrepreneurs express themselves clearly and magnetically so they can be noticed and remembered." Not only is it easier to understand while remaining succinct, it is also more engaging.

Then, the next step is to share it with friends. Ask them honestly if they would be interested if they were meeting you for the first time. If not – back to the drawing board it is. Revise and revisit until you find your perfect pitch; that way, if you’re ever in an interview or stuck in a lift with someone you want to impress, you’ll be sure to show them your best self.

To put this advice into action, sign up with GradLink and start impressing potential employers today.  


By David Gee Published: Jun 19,2017