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How to Build a Personal Credibility Statement (AKA: An Elevator Pitch)

Written By Rachelle Enns on April 18th, 2020
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Rachelle Enns
Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune 500 executives find success in their career.
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In this guide, Mock Questions discusses what a personal credibility statement is, why you should have one, and how to create your own credibility statement. We break down the 'Who, What, Where method' using specific examples and give you tips for using your personal credibility statement in a range of situations.

WHAT IS A PERSONAL CREDIBILITY STATEMENT?

A personal credibility statement is a brief introduction and explanation of you who are. It's an 'elevator pitch' with a modern upgrade.

The term 'elevator pitch' is said to come from a man named Seymour Frank. In 1995, he wrote an article in the Journal of Commerce. In the article, Frank describes chasing after an executive in an elevator to land a job. Thus, giving an 'elevator pitch.'

The days of frantically chasing people down with our briefcase in tow may be gone (I mean, you could just send them an email). However, it's still essential that you can talk about yourself on the spot.

When crafted properly, a personal credibility statement showcases who you are, what you do, and where you want to go next.

WHO NEEDS A CREDIBILITY STATEMENT?

Every professional should have a clear and rehearsed personal credibility statement. When you organize your statement correctly, it allows you to introduce yourself with confidence.

THE PURPOSE OF A CREDIBILITY STATEMENT

When we meet new people, we exchange niceties and briefly get to know one another. Sometimes there is an awkward silence, and often our minds go blank on what to say. Having a personal credibility statement can help you to break the ice and appear more confident.

A credibility statement is useful in a variety of settings, including:

  • During a job interview

  • At networking events

  • On your LinkedIn profile

  • In your cover letter


THE WHO, WHAT, WHERE FRAMEWORK

A personal credibility statement comes together using the Who, What, Where framework. The approach is simple to remember and quick to do. We will provide more in-depth detail on each section of the Who, What, Where structure, but here are the basics:

WHO YOU ARE. Introduce yourself. Describe your specialty or skills.

WHAT YOU DO. Give a clear vision of what you do, professionally speaking.

WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. Express what your future goals are, allowing the listener to get to know you and ask questions.

PREPARING YOUR CREDIBILITY STATEMENT

Now that you understand the purpose and basics of a credibility statement, let's dive deeper into the Who, What, Where framework.

PART 1: WHO YOU ARE

THE PURPOSE BEHIND WHO: To warmly introduce yourself and give the listener an idea of who you are and what you are currently doing in your professional realm.

EXAMPLE: Great to meet you! My name is James, and I work in digital marketing as a Social Media Marketing Specialist.

PART 2: WHAT YOU DO

THE PURPOSE BEHIND WHAT: To allow the listener to understand, in the simplest terms, what keeps you busy in your professional realm. Your 'what' can include details on who your clients are or the type of projects you enjoy.

EXAMPLE: I help small to medium-sized businesses to develop and implement effective social media marketing campaigns.

PART 3: WHERE YOU WANT TO GO

THE PURPOSE BEHIND WHERE: To wrap up your statement in a way that the listener could start a conversation with you, or open up with their own statement.

EXAMPLE: Currently, I work as an independent contractor; however, I am looking to join a reputable agency, allowing me to gain experience with larger marketing campaigns.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

"Great to meet you! My name is James, and I work in digital marketing as a Social Media Marketing Specialist. I help small to medium-sized businesses to develop and implement effective social media marketing campaigns. Currently, I work as an independent contractor; however, I am looking to join a reputable agency, allowing me to gain experience with larger marketing campaigns."

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Make a connection. Don't be afraid to ask your listener a question in the end, which helps you to shift into a more in-depth and meaningful conversation. For instance, a simple, "Enough about me - tell me about yourself" can spark a balanced conversation.

Avoid being aggressive. Your credibility statement is meant to be an introduction, not a hard sell. Be memorable, but remember that it isn't necessary to generate a firm outcome right out of the gates.

Be brief. Your credibility statement should be 30 seconds or less. Speaking too much about yourself can come across as arrogance, and will quickly bore your listener.

Avoid generic statements. A generic statement would be, "I work in marketing" vs. a detailed statement such as, "I work in digital marketing as a Social Media Marketing Specialist." By offering a great visual or an interesting fact, you will stand out from the crowd. You can add in a career highlight; however, avoid making it sound like a humblebrag.

Change it up. Your credibility statement will alter slightly, depending on your audience. For instance, 'Where you want to go' may change when you're speaking to a hiring manager versus a potential customer.

EXAMPLES IN ACTION

#1: During a job interview. Your credibility statement can be used in a variety of interview situations, especially when it comes to first time meetings. One instance is if a recruiter or hiring manager calls you and asks, "Can you tell me a bit about yourself?"

Your brief credibility statement is perfect for when time is limited.

In a more formal interview setting, you will want to deploy the Past, Present, Future framework for 'Tell me about yourself' questions.

EXAMPLE: "Thank you for expressing interest in my resume! For the past five years, I have worked in digital marketing as a Social Media Marketing Specialist. I help small to medium-sized businesses to develop and implement effective social media marketing campaigns. Currently, I work as an independent contractor; however, I am looking to join a reputable agency like yours, allowing me to gain experience with larger marketing campaigns."

#2: Introducing yourself at a networking event. Networking events can be awkward. Outgoing or introverted, most people have a tough time knowing what to say when someone asks, "So, what do you do?"

EXAMPLE: "Great to meet you! My name is James, and I work in digital marketing as a Social Media Marketing Specialist. I help small to medium-sized businesses to develop and implement effective social media marketing campaigns. Currently, I work as an independent contractor so I am always on the lookout for exciting new clients. How about yourself?"

#3: On your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn offers a couple of areas where you could utilize your credibility statement. These areas include your professional summary and your headline.

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY EXAMPLE: "For the past five years, I have worked in digital marketing as a Social Media Marketing Specialist. I help small to medium-sized businesses to develop and implement effective social media marketing campaigns. Currently, I work as an independent contractor; and am always on the lookout for exciting new clients. I look forward to connecting with you!"

HEADLINE EXAMPLE: Social Media Marketing Specialist. I help small to medium-sized businesses with their digital marketing strategies.

#4: In your cover letter. It's common for job seekers to feel lost when it comes to writing a cover letter. How do you introduce yourself, on paper, in a way that grabs the attention of a hiring manager? Using your credibility statement, slightly tweaked, is a great way to begin.

EXAMPLE: "Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. For the past five years, I have worked in digital marketing as a Social Media Marketing Specialist. I help small to medium-sized businesses to develop and implement effective social media marketing campaigns. Currently, I work as an independent contractor; however, I am looking to join a reputable agency such as yours. This change would allow me to gain exciting experience with larger marketing campaigns."

IN CONCLUSION

Remember to keep your credibility statement brief, light, and relevant to the situation or environment. You will want to tweak your personal credibility statement around every unique situation.

The more you practice your pitch, the better you will be able to 'freestyle' and come across as natural and conversational.

Need further practice on how to answer questions about yourself? MockQuestions has a variety of resources available to you, including this Q&A set on the most commonly asked interview questions.