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Job Seekers Hone Their Elevator Pitch

Learning how to introduce yourself is a skill that should be practiced

While elevator speeches — that short introduction of yourself, highlighting professional experience and goals — are not new, crafting one is a skill that needs to be practiced. If you've been out of the workforce for awhile, then it might be time to revisit your elevator speech and look for ways to improve it.

The idea seems simple: All you need to do is explain yourself, your business, your goals and your passions briefly. Not only that, but you need to do it smoothly and with conviction so the person you are speaking to would want to find out more about you.

At 40Plus of Greater Washington, an organization dedicated to helping people through career transitions, we work with our members so they are able to achieve these objectives. The actual time is not fixed. It can be a short micro speech (30 seconds) or a two- to five-minute macro. What counts is that the person you are speaking with engages you in a conversation and remembers you when you follow up.

The pitch is not limited to formal networking events, but should be used whenever the person is in a social gathering, since you never know who is in a position to help. Here are four people who have perfected their elevator pitches.

Giovanni F. Cappelletti

As an accomplished health care management and public relations professional with 10-plus years of experience in corporate, civic and nonprofit leadership positions, I have a record of success in developing elder care facility programs that actively engage residents, involve families and promote participation in the local community.

As a health care management and public relations professional, Giovanni Cappelletti focuses on his core skills and community appeal as a candidate.

As a health care management and public relations professional, Giovanni Cappelletti focuses on his core skills and community appeal as a candidate. — Melissa Golden

I've been recognized for building positive relationships with individuals at all levels within an organization. I'm also a skilled strategic leader and experienced negotiator with a successful record of marketing-campaign events and planning, developing budgets and meeting deadlines. I'm seeking long-term care administrator's work in nursing homes, assisted living and continuing-care retirement communities, home care, hospice or day-care facilities. I'm committed to overseeing social services and activity programs that meet the physical, emotional and psychological needs of the community.


Donna C. Taylor

A client once said to me, "I see what you do. You help us organize our chaos!" The client was right. And it's what I do best.

Donna Taylor specializes in organizational development which a client summed up simply for her 30-second sell: She helps organize chaos.

Donna Taylor specializes in organizational development which a client summed up simply for her 30-second sell: She helps organize chaos. — Melissa Golden

I'm at my best when I'm working with people to make sense out of new and confusing situations. I see how the pieces can fit together and I help plan how things might change. I'd like to do this kind of organization development work with colleges, universities or mission-driven associations.


Ann G. Mahony

As a public health expert, I'm looking to retool my strategic planning and program design and management leadership skills.

Ann Mahony, a public health expert, hones in on her specific focus within the industry for her elevator pitch.

Ann Mahony, a public health expert, hones in on her specific focus within the industry for her elevator pitch. — Melissa Golden

The focus? The older adult population, by building evidence-based community chronic disease prevention and management models. Even more, I'd love to design a patient navigation system to be applied in stroke and cardiac health settings for patients and their families, adapted from the breast cancer patient navigation model.


John Craig

My passion for direct email marketing and for "the new internet radio" springs from my belief that these two communications tools could work wonders in the field of leadership development and team building — especially in our era of crisis, as we strive to save our planet.

John Craig sells his passion for direct email marketing, why it's useful, and specific industries he'd like to work within.

John Craig sells his passion for direct email marketing, why it's useful, and specific industries he'd like to work within. — Melissa Golden

In the career I hope to develop around these digital power tools, I want to use my deep knowledge of several wide-ranging subjects: Greek and Roman mythology; the archetypal psychological theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung; great literature from Shakespeare to Joseph Conrad to Ernest Hemingway; theories of leadership emerging from stormy periods of history like the American Revolution, the French Revolution and the two world wars; theories of innovation emerging from the digital and entrepreneurial revolutions; and the turbulent history of both blues music and the politically charged rock 'n' roll music that emerged from it.

Joel Sarfati is executive director emeritus at 40Plus of Greater Washington.

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