Your Resume is Lazy

sleepyhead_zzzRecently I was talking with a colleague about the “elevator pitch“. She looked at me funny and said “what’s an elevator pitch?” Of course, I explained it to her.

But, the point of this story is that there may be people in business today who are not familiar with this concept. That means those who know what it is, can create and deliver one, may have a leg up in the job market.  So…what is it?

Allow me to begin with a story.

Jack and Sara

Jack and Sara are both recent college graduates.They are also friends. Shortly after graduation they attended a social gathering hosted by a mutual friend. At one point in the evening, as conversations typically go, the discussion turned to Jack and Sara and the fact that they had recently graduated. Someone asked:

What did you study and what are you planning to do?

Jack answered first and he said something like this:

“I studied marketing and I’m hoping to do something in that area. I kinda like advertising and I kinda like sales. Not really sure yet.”

Then it was Sara’s turn:

“I earned my degree in marketing. Over the summer I interned for a local start up company. I ended up working on their social media campaign and absolutely fell in love with that area of specialty. Since then I have continued building my own online presence and have amassed a small but respectable following. My plan is to find another start up company where I can help build and manage their social media strategy. Do any of you know of a company that needs someone like me?”


At that, a quiet, shadowy figure in the corner raised his hand and said, “Hey Sara. My name is Joe. Let’s chat.”

Turns out Joe was the owner of a start up and had been looking for someone to help with his social media strategy. Sara was soon after hired by Joe.

So, what happened in this story? Two college graduates walk into a party with the same degree. Only one walks out with a job. Where did Jack go wrong and Sara go right? What did Sara know that Jack didn’t know?

The answer is simple. Jack was unable to articulate who he was and what he wanted. He probably thought that his degree and resume would do all the work for him. Sara, on the other hand, knew that her resume was lazy and wouldn’t be getting her a job any time soon and that if she wanted to land a great job opportunity she had to be ready at a moment’s notice to sell herself. In short, Sara had her elevator pitch ready to go.

What is an elevator pitch?

It is very simple: A brief and to-the-point explanation of who you are and what you want, that ends in an “ask.”  It is called an elevator pitch based on the idea that you may have 15 to 30 seconds, the time it takes to ride from one floor to the next, to sell yourself to the person riding the elevator with you. That person may be a hiring manager, someone of influence, or someone who can simply offer you advice or help you make a connection.

Of course, as evident in our story of Jack and Sara, the opportunity to sell yourself may come at unexpected times – not just in elevators – so you should always be ready.

Let’s face it. Your resume is lazy. Don’t expect it to do all the work for you. Get yourself an elevator pitch today.

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