It’s hard to underestimate the value of a good elevator pitch.  Having a clear, concise statement of who you are and what you’re looking for is key to job search success.  So why do they call it an elevator pitch?  Because it’s the pitch you’d deliver if you got into an elevator on the ground floor with someone who might be in a position to help further your career and you had only the length of the elevator ride to let them know what you’re all about.  You’d need a concise, well-rehearsed statement that you could deliver in the brief period of time that it took that elevator to ascend.

Think of that elevator as a proxy for your career as you re-enter the workforce.  If you’ve been out of the paid workforce for any period of time, particularly if that career break spans a few years or more, you’re probably feeling pretty ground floor right now.  I know.  I was there too.  But you’re ready to board that elevator, and hoping to ride it up a few floors as you advance your career as a relauncher.

Here are the 5 things your elevator pitch should include:

Keep in mind that although this pitch is very short by design (no more than 30 seconds), you still need to practice saying it until it rolls off your tongue. Note also that these items are specific to people restarting careers.

#1: A statement about where you want to plug back into the workforce

This is important as it shows you’ve done your research and you’re self-aware enough to know where you’ll be a good fit.  It’s crucial that this point is clearly stated, or the person you’re speaking with won’t know how to help you.  For example: “I’m looking for a position as a hospital administrator so I can use my degree in nursing and my experience with hospital compliance.”

#2: A statement about what you bring to the table

This is where you mention your strengths in areas that directly apply to the position you’re seeking, along with a quick proof point for each.  See our next point for an example which combines this point with #3.

#3: Mention of your previous career accomplishments

Set yourself up as an achiever and a professional by summing up an accomplishment of which you are particularly proud from your previous work-life.   Choose an accomplishment in which you applied skills that are relevant to the job you’re looking for.  For example: “I led a team that ensured our hospital met or exceeded all accreditation standards and won awards for our level of patient care.  I’m a whiz with data and good with details, so developing the plan for this project was something I really enjoyed doing.”

#4: An indication that you are 100% ready to re-enter the workforce

Be proactive about addressing this concern hiring managers may have when considering a candidate who is restarting her career.  Deliver this part with enthusiasm and a genuine smile.  Here’s an example: “I was fortunate enough to be able to take some time off while our children were young/I had aging parents who needed me and now I am ready and excited to return to work.”

#5: An expression of self-confidence in who you are and what you offer

If you’re “pitching” me, I want to hear confidence in your voice.  If I’m going to believe in you, you need to believe in you. Success with an elevator pitch is less about what you say and more about how you say it. Stand up straight, project your voice, smile and pitch away!

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