As helpful as our resumes are in describing who we are and what we’ve accomplished, the chances of us carrying them everywhere we go—and the chances of strangers actually wanting to read them—are extremely low. That is why you need an elevator pitch, a short and sweet summary of what you do and why you could be an asset to whoever it is you’re speaking with.

Done right, your elevator pitch will take your career to the next level. Imagine walking into a room with the CEO of your dream company, or stumbling upon that client you’ve always dreamed of landing. A memorable 30- to 45-second presentation of your awesomeness will pave the way for new opportunities. Check out this infographic for a step-by-step guide to making the most of these chance encounters, and don’t ever be unprepared again.

Infographic courtesy of Xerox. Photo of shaking hands courtesy of Shutterstock.

Updated 6/19/2020