How to Talk About Your Career Change in Your Elevator Pitch
The thing about making a career change is that, eventually, you have to tell everyone. It might be something you want to put off for a while, but actually, you’re better off telling people sooner rather than later. After all, the sooner your contacts know, the more likely they’ll be able to help you with your transition.
So, incorporating your career change into your elevator pitch makes a lot of sense. The question is: How do you include your upcoming career change and still keep your previous experience in your pitch? Here’s a four-step guide for doing just that.
1. Describe Yourself in a Few Words
The first part of your elevator pitch should be used to introduce yourself and your personal brand. If you’re not sure what your personal brand is yet, try going through this workbook, or just use your current occupation and add a few things you’re interested in. So, the beginning of your elevator pitch might be:
I’m an English teacher obsessed with clean and precise language.
2. Talk About Your Experience and Skills
Next, move into your previous experience. Don’t sell yourself short in this bit, even if your previous experience isn’t directly relevant. This is the stuff that makes you special. We’ll tie it all together in the next part. For example:
I’ve been teaching for five years now, and every year I push students to read and think and discuss, but more than anything I push them to write. They start with sloppy five paragraph essays in September, but by the time summer rolls around, they leave my classroom with their own beautifully complex short stories.
3. Pick Your Favorite Parts
Here’s the part where you make the connection. Pick out the parts of your previous experience that you love and are hoping to bring with you to your new role. Highlight them as a way to point out the kind of work you hope to be seeking in the near future. It should be structured something like this:
I love working with my students. They’re so creative, especially after they realize there’s no ‘right’ answer in English. In the end though, my favorite part of my job is actually diving deep into the language. For me, polishing text and teasing out meaning are the highlights of my day.
4. Connect to Your Career Change
Finally, bring it all together and spell out that you’re seeking a career change. Don’t dance around the subject. Wrap up your pitch by making it abundantly clear what you want to move on to:
That’s why, after some serious self-reflection, I’ve started looking into becoming an editor. I know it’s a competitive field, but this is the kind of work that’s really exciting to me.
Of course, your elevator pitch is just the beginning of the conversation, but getting this right is an important step in steering the conversation in a direction that might help you learn more about the industry or connect with others.
Photo of train tracks courtesy of Shutterstock.
Lily Zhang serves as a Career Development Specialist at MIT where she works with a range of students from undergraduates to PhDs on how to reach their career aspirations. When she's not indulging in a new book or video game, she's thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.More from this Author