Elevator speech | Lessons for resume writings

Have you heard about the “elevator speech”? If not let me apprise you..

“An elevator speech is a clear, brief message or commercial about you. It communicates a.)who you are? b.) what do you have to offer? and c.)how is it beneficial for the company or organization? It’s typically about 30 seconds, the time it takes people to ride from the top to the bottom of a building in an elevator”.  The reference of an elevator speech is often given to teach selling skills and why I am bringing it here is for two reasons

  1. Job hunting process is almost similar to selling and it starts with the pre-sales activity of resume making. ( resume is the first thing which goes to the prospective employer)
  2. Going by my own experiences of short-listing thousands of resumes, you precisely have 30 seconds to make an impression on the person reviewing it.

Hence your resume is your elevator speech, the good part is that with proper preparation you can make it perfect. And here comes the best part, you don’t have live performance pressure like in the elevator speech.

I have recruited many candidates in the past for my team & must have gone through thousands of resumes. Let me tell you that only three things matter in a resume and everything else is unnecessary detail which can be avoided at this stage. Refer to the elevator speech above and the three things are :

  1. Who you are? - Your qualification and contacts
  2. What do you offer? - Your job experiences and measurable achievements.
  3. How can you benefit the organization? : Your proven and relevant skillsets for the job on offer.

Since your resume is your elevator speech and you have only 30 seconds to be successful, how do you make every second count? It is not a difficult task if you’re able to answer the above 3 questions with clarity and in an uncluttered way, I can guarantee that you’ll be noticed and chances of success will be high. Hence below are some tips to make a perfect resume :

  • Single pagers are best: resist the temptation of writing a novel about yourself, nobody is interested in knowing every detail of your life hence be objective and focus on 3 things as mentioned above. Single pager resume works the best(Tons of formats are available on the internet), if you feel absolutely necessary to give details then attached a single page summary of the resume on top (i.e. single page resume) supported by detail resume. Generally, if your single pager is good enough people won't need to go to the detailed one.
  • Make it look beautiful: Go ahead, spend some time and make it eye-catching. If it looks good, it will work good. This doesn’t mean that you add a lot of contrasting dark colours and lots of graphics. The other mistake one can make is to clutter it ( Since it is one-pager). Instead of writing big sentences, write only small bullets to convey the message. For e.g. Instead of writing “I was responsible for growing company revenue from XXXX to YYYY and successfully achieved 120% target in FY19 to be number one regional manager” you can simply write “Was No. 1 RM in FY19 with 120% achievement”.
  • Write a short description of previous companies worked for: We're often tempted to write a detailed history of our previous employments which makes a resume lengthy. One should focus on 3 things(Apart from company name and years in service) while giving previous employment history (One line each) i.e. Job title, role and key responsibilities. In case you have many years of experience spread over different companies and profiles, try making a professional journey chart something like below: 
  • Be specific on achievements and skills: Never use generic skills such as hard-working, fast learner etc. While behavioural skills are very important for you to be successful in a job, a resume is not the right place to put them on. Save some space and instead use the hard skills which would be relevant for the job e.g. technical and functional. Same goes for the achievements only put what you can prove.
  • All elevator speeches are unique: the Same resume can not be a fit for all job openings. Before sending your resume research on what the job profile is, what skill sets will be required and what are the probable challenges faced by the organization. Accordingly, prepare your elevator speech.
  • Do put a photograph and social media links: Putting a professional photograph on resume put the right impression on the recruiter. In case recruiter wants to see more details, a clickable Linkedin icon can be helpful. Keep your Linkedin profile updated with all the details. In case there is a news article in which you have appeared, a link can be pasted in the resume.

The elevator speech can make or break a deal, while the speech itself is only 30sec long, however, the amount of time and energy which goes into preparation decides the outcome. Hence devote time to create that wonderful speech called resume.

I am attaching below a sample resume I worked on, you surely can do better

All the best