One of the best pieces of career advice I've ever received was about creating a strong elevator pitch. "In order to leave a memorable impression, you can't just say what you do," this mentor told me, "You need to say how well you do it."

Sounds simple enough, right? But, after several hours spent scribbling out endless pages in my notebook, I can tell you firsthand: It's not necessarily as easy as it sounds.

Distilling what value you bring to the table down into a few concise and impactful sentences is actually deceptively tough.

Fortunately, over the years, I've managed to zone in on three key questions that will help you to see the clear cut value that you offer. With that information in mind, you're well on your way to an impressive and unforgettable elevator pitch.

1. What do you do really well?

Like my mentor mentioned, the secret ingredient is not only to explain what you do -- but what you do really well.

So, as your first step, sit down and think of one (or even a few!) things that you're really good at. Perhaps you're a whiz at crunching numbers in Excel. Or, maybe your strong suit is your graphic design capabilities.

Whatever the case, jot down those things that you know you're not just good at, but great at.

What I do really well: Writing advice related to careers and self development.

2. What problem does that skill solve?

Here's where the value comes into play. Think of a job interview, for example. A potential employer doesn't only care about the skills you bring to the table -- they care about what sort of impact that will have on their business.

The best thing you can do here is to think of that specific skill you've narrowed down as the answer to a question or the solution to a problem.

Put simply, what exactly does it achieve?

Problem(s) I solve: My written advice helps brands and publications engage their audiences, and helps readers excel in their careers and professional lives.

3. Who do you solve this problem for?

Chances are, you've already answered this question in the step above (you'll quickly see that I did!). But, it's still an important component to give some individual attention to -- think of it like identifying your target customer in marketing.

Ideally, when someone listens to your elevator pitch, they'll instantly be able to recognize whether or not you'd be an asset to them. However, in order to do that, you need to know exactly who you're aiming to appeal to.

So, don't just think about what problem you're solving. Go a step further and identify who exactly you're solving it for.

Who I solve this problem for: Brands or publications and the people who read my advice

The Final Product

So, after piecing those items together, my final elevator pitch could end up looking something like this:

My name is Kat, and I specialize in writing advice related to careers and self development. The content that I author helps brands and publications engage and grow their audiences, while also offering practical advice to help readers improve their own careers and professional lives.

There you have it -- it's short and snappy, but still powerful.

Rest assured, your elevator pitch doesn't need to be one-size-fits-all. If you'd like to tweak things depending on where you're headed or who you'll be meeting with, you're free to do so!

And, with that in mind, it might be helpful for you to walk through these questions all over again -- while just thinking of them in a different context.

Published on: Jul 21, 2017