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Career Coach

Hone Your Elevator Speech

Published January 27, 2010 1:16 PM by Renee Dahring
We put a lot of energy and thought into creating our resumes, but that's just the first hurdle in the job race. After your newly updated and well-organized resume (with no typos!) has secured a job interview for you, now it's time to do interview preparation. For many of us that means brushing up on our interviewing skills.

So how do you prepare for an interview? I can give you one pointer to ponder. Typically the opening task posed to you can also be the biggest potential pitfall. I'm talking about that legendary deceptively simple question/statement: "Tell me about yourself."

On the surface it sounds straightforward, but it isn't until you begin to formulate your answer that you suddenly find yourself wondering, "What exactly DO they want to hear from me?" Most applicants then struggle while they quickly try to decide which direction their answer should take and how much time it should take to say.

My advice? Keep your answer short and to the point.

This is the time have your "elevator speech" ready. For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of an elevator speech, I will sum it up for you. It's basically a short statement that grabs the listeners' attention and then informs them what you can do for them. The reason it's called an elevator speech, is that it should take no longer to deliver than it takes to ride an elevator up or down (in an average building not a skyscraper!)

The opener might start out something like this: "I understand you have a large number of (insert patient type) and that you would benefit from having an NP who could (insert whatever service is needed)." Then you quickly state what qualifies you to meet their need or solve their problem.

You want to keep your elevator speech concise, but don't be too brief either. You must sell yourself, but not be overly abrupt. However, this is also not the time to get into a long rambling description of your background either. During the rest of the interview they will ask questions and give you ample opportunity to expand on yourself. Try writing and practicing your elevator speech before your next interview so you are comfortable and it doesn't come off sounding overly rehearsed. I think you will like the results.

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    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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