CDI Corporation

3 tips for improving your elevator speech as an IT or engineering contractor

As more and more individuals in the IT and engineering fields look for contract work instead of traditional, full-time employment, having a top-notch elevator speech has become all the more important. An elevator speech is a 30-second pitch that summarizes the experience and professional goals of job seekers that they use to sell their skills, network and hopefully gain employment. Elevator speeches are just as important – if not more so – for IT and engineering contractors, who must compete against countless other specialists in their fields for the most lucrative contracts, and who must be able to quickly pivot between opportunities to keep up in the fast-paced contractor market.

Don’t settle for a so-so elevator speech any longer – it could be costing you assignments. Instead, follow these three tips for improving your pitch:

1. Emphasize the value you offer

With just half a minute to pitch your skills and experience to an interviewer, you may be tempted to talk about how you have extensive IT knowledge or how you can help companies engineer solutions for the toughest problems. However, statements like these are generic and don’t convey the specific value you would bring to a company as a contractor. Instead, focus on the tangible benefits you bring, not what you sell, as Inc. magazine suggested. For example, instead of saying "I develop mobile applications for e-commerce sites," say "The e-commerce sites I build boost revenue by an average of X amount." The important distinction is to make clear what the value is that you would bring to a company as an IT or engineering contractor – not just what you can do.

2. Focus on the specific nature of the contract you want

Unlike permanent roles, IT and engineering assignments are diverse and have a specific project or business target in mind. If you craft your elevator speech so that it reflects the specific type of contract work you want, you’re much more likely to get your name passed along to the decision-maker, instead of just being barely remembered as a general, all-purpose IT or engineering contractor. Think about your strongest skills and professional development goals – if you want to work with cloud applications, make sure your elevator speech centers around this. Or, if working with mobile apps is your goal, fine-tune your pitch to focus on the specific skills and value you can provide in the mobile sphere.

3. Keep it short and sweet

Remember, your elevator speech should only be about 30 seconds long. Pitches that are short and sweet and add value to the listener’s day instead of wasting his time are the most successful. Focus on who you are and what you bring to the table, framing your information in a way that the listener can clearly understand how your experience will work to his benefit. Keeping your speech direct and to the point also shows that you value people’s time, get things done and move from one opportunity to another with ease – all important attributes of an IT or engineering contractor.

Never underestimate the power of the elevator speech. In today’s job market that is increasingly looking to IT and engineering contractors, a value-focused, targeted and concise yet effective speech could be the key to getting superior contractor work.