One Minute Commercial

Having your “One Minute Commercial”, “Elevator Speech”, or “15 Second Pitch” ready to go is an essential component of networking. This is your introduction to and your first impression on a new contact. It's a concise and compelling summary of who you are, what you can do, and what you want to do. It highlights your relevant skills and experience as they relate to the type of position you are seeking. You want to prepare these sound bites ahead of time and rehearse them out loud. Your commercial may include information like:

  • Your name, degrees, and relevant minors.
  • Your career interests and focus.
  • The type of position you are seeking.

In addition, if you’re talking with a person who expresses interest in knowing more about your background, be prepared to mention:

  • A targeted summary of relevant past and present work experience/internships, volunteer positions/class projects.
  • Activities demonstrating leadership, teamwork/service.
  • How your background and future goals will fit with their organizational needs.
  • Your specific interest in the organization and how your skills relate to their needs.

Although obviously which elements you include in your introduction will depend on the circumstances, it’s wise to prepare a conversational and concise message ahead of time. You never know what doors that discussion with a new contact may open.

Examples:

  1. Hi, my name is Jane. I’ll be graduating next year with my masters in library and information science from SJSU. I discovered that I’m really interested in ____________. I’ve taken several classes related to this area and I feel like it’s a great fit for me. I’m looking for an internship position where I can apply what I’ve learned and contribute to the organization. [If they’re still interested, you can continue with….] Before deciding to attend graduate school, I worked at ________________ and have been able to apply my knowledge of ______________and ______________to the __________________ field.
  2. Hi, my name is Thomas and I’m looking for an entry-level __________________position in a public library. I’ll be finishing my Masters degree in Library and Information Science this summer. I recently completed a fascinating 6-month internship at the Martin Luther King, Jr. library in San Jose where I had the opportunity to _____________________ and _____________. The experience really solidified my interest in ____________________. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience in the field of______________________________?
  3. Hi, my name is Jamie and it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m currently a student at SJSU and working on my MLIS. I’m particularly interested in the field of ______________. [If they’re still interested, you can continue with….] My past experience has been in film and media where I was responsible for _________________ and ___________________. That experience prompted me to continue my education in information science and I’m really interested in combining my skills in ___________and _____________ and working for Pixar Animation when I graduate. I would love to learn about how you got into the field and got hired at Pixar.

The SJSU Career Center has a template of a One Minute Commercial to help you map out an introduction.

You can also check out Mary Ellen Bates' blog about creatively different approaches - the anti-elevator speech

In Fall 2015, the iSchool SLA Student Chapter hosted several interesting events. Scroll down for Dee Magnoni’s and (especially for nervous networkers) Tracy Z. Maleeff’s discussions about networking.

 Next: Informational Interviewing

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