In addition to writing a ‘Canadian style resume,’ it’s also vital to include a well-written ‘elevator pitch’. An ‘elevator pitch’ or career goal is a quick summary that describes your professional goals and the value you can offer. You can use an elevator pitch in many situations including interviews, networking conversations, cover letters, and of course, your resume. With clear examples of an elevator pitch, you’ll be able to write an effective pitch with confidence.
Linda Ryan is the National Program Manager with BCCA-Integrating Newcomers, a government funded, Canada-wide, pre-arrival career coaching service for high skilled construction professionals immigrating to Canada (*BCCA-IN). A career and certified performance coach, she and the BCCA-IN team specialise in helping newcomers plan for, and achieve, employment success, no matter what city or province they are moving to.
When it comes to job searching in Canada, Ryan works closely with newcomers who are eager to continue their careers in Canada. Ryan provides advice and career tips to help newcomers succeed in Canada. In the article, learn about the importance of an elevator pitch and examples of what to include in your pitch.
PFC: Can you help us understand what an ‘elevator pitch’ is?
Linda Ryan: At a high level, an elevator pitch is a communication tool that will help you to promote yourself in a clear and concise way. That’s why it’s called an elevator pitch. For example, you should be able to say it within 30 seconds, about the time you’d spend riding an elevator with someone. But, before you’re ready to say your pitch, you need to prepare to write it.
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PFC: How do you suggest job-seekers prepare to write their elevator pitch?
Linda Ryan: Even before people begin to write, I suggest that they find a:
- Pen and paper (or post-it notes, or crayons! Whatever makes you feel happy)
- Quiet space, to think and dream
- Comfortable place to sit.
This is a great place to ask yourself about your career goals. This step is about imagining what you’d love to be/do and reality-checking that career dream with what the industry is expecting you to possess. Ask yourself and answer what…
- Kind of career am I aiming for?
- Kind of roles and role titles will lead me to this?
- Skills, credentials or education are employers asking for (for similar roles)?
- Experience, duties and career achievements do I have that meet these needs?
With the answers to these important questions, you’re ready to begin the process of writing your elevator pitch.
PFC: Can you provide an example of an elevator pitch and what it should include?
Linda Ryan: As I’ve said, you’re ready to begin writing your elevator pitch when you know what you’re searching for. But, you don’t have to create the pitch all in one go. For example, a smart next step is to list the key elements of your “story”. A good example of an elevator pitch should include:
- Years of experience
- Scope of technical expertise
- Educational qualification/background
- Accreditation/credential status (relevant to the profession and province)
- National/international project exposure
- The kind of role/job title you’re focusing on.
PFC: What tips or examples can you provide about how to write an elevator pitch?
Linda Ryan: With the facts in front of you, review and edit what you’ve got then begin joining the points together with sentences.
- Write it in the first person (me, I)
- Use paragraph style (not bullet points)
- Limit it to three to five sentences
- Tell employers a story by:
- writing in a way that shows career consistency and technical progression, and
- framing your paragraph around the ‘me/we’ value proposition.
And always remember: you need more than one elevator pitch. Good elevator pitches are simple to understand and feature your unique selling points.
PFC: What last piece of advice would you offer?
Linda Ryan: If all else fails, feel free to use this… (but I wouldn’t recommend it!!)
‘My career objective is to work in <insert sector here> and I’m open to any opportunity in your company.’ If anything, this is an example of an elevator pitch to avoid.
Learn More about BCCA-IN
*The BCCA-Integrating Newcomers program is a free, pre-arrival, Canada-wide service, focused on helping high-skilled newcomers explore and build successful construction careers. Services include one-on-one career guidance, tailored resume, cover letter, LinkedIn advice, and an in-depth skills and education assessment to help newcomers focus on the best career, credentials and connections activities. The Integrating Newcomers team not only has multi-industry experience but are also immigrants who have built successful careers in Canada.