Taking an Elevator Speech to the Next Level: An Editorial

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By: Teresa Sarkela –

I have to admit something that has been lingering on my tiny little brain since I began this final year of college: I have no idea what I’m doing. Upon graduation, there seem to be a million different paths out there to take, to choose from, to aim toward; meanwhile, I’m standing in oversized scuba flippers still trying to figure out how I can possibly walk.

Seeing as I have a big, important conference coming up, a job market to enter, and no networking skills, I shared my predicaments with Lisa Wallace in Career Services. Putting my strongest foot forward in the web of networking makes me keenly aware of my bumbling stride. Starting up what can be half-hearted conversations about my “qualifications as a valuable team member” is challenging when I have no idea what to say. I would much rather show you how I take the stairs than tell you about myself in a 15-second elevator ride. Thankfully, Lisa broke it down for me in a way that not only made sense, but seemed accomplishable in my current footwear.

In a nutshell, she asked me: What would you want to know about you? It’s that good ol’ elevator speech that I have always found so daunting. But it’s not what I’m trying to “sell” about myself, it’s what I can highlight. It’s what I can share regarding what I am doing, how I’m doing it, and why I’m looking forward to applying it toward a new venture.

She also told me to get over it – blatant and much-needed words. I don’t like to advertise myself (which seems hypocritical when I share little realizations about my life every other week via editorial, but bear with me). However, even if I have wavering confidence in myself, I can at least be confident in all that has led me to where I am now. One day I will grow into my giant flippers, but until then I will put on my best, uncomfortable business shoes and enjoy the ride to whatever level is next.


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