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Elevator Pitches: What are They Are & How to Write One

We’ve talked about elevator pitches before (See our Job Fair article). An elevator pitch is a quick synopsis of who you are, your background, and experience. They are called an elevator pitch as it is intended to be brief enough to last the average elevator ride. The speech should be all about you, and it will be invaluable when networking, attending job fairs, and landing a job.

One way to think about an elevator speech is to take everyone’s favorite interview question “Tell me about yourself”, draft an answer to it, and then condense it. There’s your elevator pitch. If you have LinkedIn, you could use the summary you wrote for your profile as your elevator pitch as they both serve the same purpose.

So how do you write an elevator pitch? Well for starters, aim for a 30-60 second speech. It should be brief but also not so long as to where you have to talk really fast. You should be able say the pitch within a comfortable conversational pace.

Your speech should also be persuasive. It may be short but it needs to spark the interest of the person to whom you are talking. Trigger their curiosity and that short speech could turn into a longer conversation or even an interview!

Make sure you’re mentioning your skills. Now I realize you may have a lot of skills, but focus on your strengths and assets that are valuable in many scenarios. Also, this is not the time to be modest. Be willing to brag a little (just make certain you can back it up with specifics as you may be asked).

Be positive! This is not the time to talk about how much you hate to travel or working with others. Remember you are creating a first impression. You don’t get that second chance.

Talk about your goals. You don’t need to be specific or talk about your five year plan here. Simply saying that you are pursuing a role in a particular industry is enough, or that you are looking to relocate to a certain city and continue following your career there. Whatever your basic goal is keep it short and direct.

Be flexible enough in your pitch to address your audience. For example, say you’re an IT professional and speaking with a fellow professional, it would be acceptable and positive if you were to use industry jargon. However, if you’re speaking to a recruiter or human resource personnel, they likely wouldn’t know what you’re talking about and may be put off by it.

Now that you’ve written your pitch, you’ll need to practice it. Your speed and tone should be natural. You don’t want to sound robotic. You should be conversational. Practicing will be the best way to feel comfortable. You could also imagine certain scenarios and practice how you may adjust your pitch for that particular person or situation.

Lastly, be ready to exchange some sort of information, like a business card if you have one or at the very least a resume (which is an absolute at a job fair). This will show enthusiasm and possibly set you up for future contact, which is exactly what you want if you’re job searching.

Now maybe you’re wondering exactly what an elevator pitch sounds like. Here’s a couple examples:

I’m Ricia, and I’m a recent graduate from SUNY Empire with a degree in Business and Information Systems. I’m looking to take my knowledge, initiative, and empathy and put them to work helping people in a non-profit or governmental setting.

My name is John. I’m a lawyer specializing in estate law based out of New York City. However, I’m from North Carolina and looking to move back homeward and work for a family friendly firm.

Not too complicated, right? If you need inspiration, I recommend googling “elevator pitch examples”. There are plenty of them out there to spur your imagination.

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