Meet the elevator pitch, a brief introduction to who you are, what you do, and what you can do for a company. It answers the ubiquitous, “So, what do you do?”
A good elevator pitch can open doors and attract opportunities to advance your career. Creating an elevator pitch can help you evaluate your career and redefine how you want to advance.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What is an elevator pitch
- How to make an elevator pitch
- When to use an elevator pitch for a job
- Elevator pitch do’s and don’ts
- What to say in an elevator pitch
- When to use an elevator pitch
- Elevator pitches examples in different scenarios
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief, written or verbal speech where you introduce yourself, explain what you do, and connect with a person from a company you’re interested in. The idea is to intrigue someone with your career in the time it takes to ride an elevator.
According to Y Combinator, the startup accelerator for companies like Uber, Dropbox, Airbnb and more, in an elevator pitch, “you want to explain what you do in the simplest language possible. This needs to be predigested. Your elevator pitch should be like baby food.”
Companies use elevator pitches to sell their services, find investors and form partnerships. They give enough information to pique their audience’s interest to continue the conversation at a later time. For job seekers, an elevator pitch will help open the door for an interview or informal meeting. A candidate can use an elevator pitch when networking with recruiters, during an interview, in their cover letter and more.
An elevator pitch can help you advance in your current job, start an interview for a new job, and open the door to opportunities in the future.
How to write an elevator pitch
Creating an elevator pitch for yourself is a great exercise. It helps prepare you for interviews, networking and more. Also, writing an elevator pitch helps define where you are in your career and where you want to move.
Remember that an elevator pitch simply opens the door to further conversations. It is just a quick pitch on who you are, what you do and what you can do for an organization; there is no need to give your entire career story or skill set. Pick your best skills and those that could help the company succeed.
Now, let’s talk about the process of writing an elevator pitch.
1. First, introduce yourself.
Keep it simple and friendly. If you have met the person before, tell them how you met or if someone referred you to them.
Hello, Mr. Davis. I’m data analyst Kara Garcia. We met at the CompSci recruiting event at Georgia State two years ago.
Hello, Ms. Williams. I’m Steve Taylor, production assistant at Uva Productions. Jenna Martin said you were the person to meet at this event.
Hello, my name is Andrea Baker. I’m a graphic design student at Bryant & Stratton College. I was so excited to hear ABC Designs would have a table at this career fair.
2. Tell them about what you do.
With pleasantries out of the way, it’s time to talk about what you are currently working on. There is no need to give your entire employment history. If you have more than one job, just mention the one that applies to the situation.
After Georgia State, I received an internship at Big Tech Company; then, I was hired as a data analyst specializing in machine learning.
I’m currently assisting with commercial productions. I’ve worked in seven nationwide commercials through Uva Productions. I also produce local commercials for a smaller agency in my town.
Even though I’m still a student, I’ve been able to grow my portfolio with branding commissions from local and online businesses. It is all on my portfolio, which is on my card.
3. Explain what you can do for them.
Regarding this step, consider what sets you apart from other candidates and how you can address the company’s needs.
I’ve heard about your new data department. I understand it is still in its infancy, and I’d love to hear more about it. I’m always looking for new opportunities and challenges to tackle.
Your recent productions, particularly the pet chain commercial, are outstanding. I bring a human connection to my local commercials, and I believe I can add more human value to your productions.
I understand the internship applications will open soon, and from what I’ve seen, my work fits with your products.
4. Ask for what you want.
Once you give all your information, it is time for a call to action. Clearly and amicably request that meeting, phone call or business card to discuss your career further. If the person is reluctant, simply offer your card and move on.
I’d love to discuss what my experience in Big Tech has taught me and how I can help you streamline your data. Do you have time for a meeting or phone call next week?”
I’d love to hear more about your projects and discuss the opportunity to join your production team in the future. What’s the best way to reach you?”
I’d love to intern with ABC Designs next semester and want to hear more about the requirements and what you’re looking for. I can send you my portfolio. What’s the best email to reach you?
How to write an elevator pitch
- Introduce yourself.
“Nice to meet you! I’m Justin, one of the graduate students in the documentary master’s program.”
- Describe what you do.
“I’m currently working on pre-production research with Dr. Jennifer Alvarado for her next film, which will be done in March.”
- Ask for what you want.
“We’ve been studying your work on news documentaries, which is my field of interest. I’d love to join your fellowship program next year.”
- End with a call to action.
“Could we set up a time to talk more about the requirements? What’s the best way to reach you? Here’s my card.”
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When to use an elevator pitch for a job
An elevator pitch can be used in any situation if you adapt your delivery accordingly. For example, a networking happy hour will warrant an informal conversation, while a job interview will require a formal elevator pitch.
Let’s look at personal elevator pitch examples in different scenarios.
In a resume summary
Your resume’s elevator pitch lies in its summary statement. In it, you will write your years of experience, strongest skills and accomplishments in two to three sentences.
Special education teacher with 12 years of experience specializing in the Montessori method for children with special needs. Spearheaded the Special Parents program, a school initiative to involve parents in everyday teaching. Director for the summer camp program My Own Summer.
In a cover letter
When you’re writing a cover letter, the elevator pitch will be the first paragraph. You’ll summarize your experience, strongest skills and a professional accomplishment. The hiring manager should want to continue reading.
I am a registered nurse with seven years of experience and a master’s degree in Nursing from Emory University. I am passionate about patient care and family communication. I’ve acted as a compassionate liaison for families and doctors, particularly Spanish-speaking families, at the PICU Unit at Emory University Hospital.
On your professional website
When people look for your services, your elevator pitch will be front and center on your professional website. Let them know what you do, how long you’ve been doing it, and what you can do for them.
Event photographer with 10 years of experience. I specialized in family events, children and infants. Based in Atlanta, I can capture memories of a lifetime in the comfort of your own home or on location.
In your professional social media profiles
Be it your LinkedIn profile or a professional membership organization, you’ll have space to add an elevator pitch for your career and what you’re offering.
12-year educator veteran helping teachers improve their lessons plans and student assessments through online tools. Let me help you create great lessons in less time!
During an interview
“So, tell me about yourself.” You’ll be prepared for your interview to answer this common interview question by creating your pitch beforehand.
I’m a dedicated customer service agent with eight years of experience in call centers, online chats and front desk. In that time, I increased our customer retention from 10% to 18%, and as a team leader, I helped improve employee retention by 22%. I want to continue my career at a higher managerial level to have a broader impact on providing the best customer care.
At a career fair
Recruiters will expect your elevator pitch at a career fair. Make sure yours is memorable by choosing your best skills.
“Hello, my name is Jane Francis. I’m a chemical lab technician with three years of experience. I’m seeking to enter the pharmaceutical field from my current consumer products field. I specialized in data analysis and report creation.”
You can attend an official networking event or find networking opportunities that arise during your leisure time. Have an elevator pitch ready and deliver it naturally, according to the following scenario.
“‘I love creating products from scratch, iterating and improving existing software. I became a software product engineer to help others with their ideas. My focus has been startups in the health care industry. I want to be part of the industry revolution.”
Elevator pitch do’s and don’ts
A good elevator pitch can be a career-changing tool. Consider these tips when writing and delivering your elevator pitch.
- Research the company and industry. Learn all you can about the companies that pique your interest. And always keep your pulse on the latest industry news.
- Keep a natural tone of voice. An elevator pitch can be a conversation starter.
- Create written and speaking versions. We do not write the same way we speak. Create and improve an elevator pitch, then adapt it to different audiences and scenarios.
- Sound rehearsed. Avoid this by rehearsing until it becomes second nature. Practice with friends and in front of the mirror to see your body language.
- Take more than a minute or a few sentences. Be clear and concise. A long elevator pitch loses its power, and the recruiter will lose interest. Think of the pitch as a sample: You want to give enough to hear, “Tell me more.”
- Make it just about you. The elevator pitch should sing your praises, but at the end of the day, it should present a solution to a problem or offer the company something they need.
Afraid you don’t have what it takes? According to Finances Online, 66% of companies will train and hire candidates who may lack skills but have potential. Don’t be afraid to reach out and pitch what a valuable candidate you are.
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Elevator pitch examples for top jobs
Steven Brown mentioned you’re looking for a new CPA. Well, for the past five years, I’ve been working in the private sector as a CPA. I help companies refocus their budgets by reducing costs and managing cash flow. Do you have time for a chat this week?
As a history buff, I love to save building facades and interiors. I’ve specialized in the preservation of private properties for 12 years. Your upcoming project is a massive and impressive task. I’ve been a fan of that property for years. Would you like to discuss how we can work together to save this property?
I help local companies find their voice through my work as a copywriter. I have eight years of experience and have won three Effective Marketing Awards. I’ve been following your company’s growth through social media, and I can help redefine your voice to find the client you want. Are you available for a chat this week?
I’m a project manager at The Incubator, where I help my team help startups succeed. I’ve streamlined the onboarding process and created a new management process to simplify our startup tasks. Do you have time to chat this week about the new project management opportunities at your company?
As a sales manager, I help my team succeed through strategies and team building. I’ve been working in sales in the healthcare industry for 10 years and as a manager for four. I’ve seen your marketing efforts and they’re great, but missing a clear sales strategy. Are you available to talk? I’m always open to new opportunities.
8 tips for creating and presenting an effective elevator pitch, every time
- Research the business you’re pitching to: If you know you will meet a person from a company, learn about that company. Otherwise, keep on top of your industry news and be ready to deliver a pitch at any time.
- Create different versions of your elevator pitch: Create and polish your pitch, then adapt it to different scenarios, like an impromptu networking opportunity, a career fair or even a job interview.
- Avoid jargon and acronyms: Keep it simple. Create an elevator pitch that someone who has nothing to do with your industry could understand.
- Avoid asking, “So, what do you think?” at the end: The elevator pitch should speak for itself.
- Ask a colleague for feedback: Prepare your pitch and practice with someone, a trusted friend, colleague or mentor. Ask them what they understood, and see if it’s the same message you intended.
- Expect questions: If the elevator pitch works as intended, the other party will be interested in hearing more about you. Be ready to answer questions and continue the conversation.
- Keep business cards at hand: Be ready to hand out business cards to further the conversation. If the timing of the elevator pitch isn’t right, but they’re still interested, it’ll give them a way to contact you and keep up with your career.
- Know when to stop: You went overboard sharing about your skills and career. It happens. Once you can sense the attention shift or the change in body language, finish the conversation or move on to another topic.
Elevator pitch for a job: important takeaways
- An elevator pitch needs to answer: who you are, what you do, and what you could do for or offer a company.
- An elevator pitch needs to be concise and easily digestible.
- An elevator pitch has to be short; aim for no more than 30 seconds, an entire minute at most.
- An elevator pitch should be adapted to different scenarios.
Elevator pitch FAQ
Is an elevator pitch necessary?
Yes. An elevator pitch allows you to tell people exactly what you do and what you can do for them in a short amount of time. A good elevator pitch can be adapted to any situation, and creating one helps you refocus your career.
What should you consider when delivering an elevator pitch?
When delivering a pitch, consider these points:
- Your tone and natural delivery. Keep a friendly and engaging tone of voice. Think of your elevator pitch as a conversation starter, not a selling point.
- Your body language. Avoid fidgeting or stillness. An elevator pitch delivery should mimic the environment where it is being presented. If you’re in a meeting, it should be formal; if it is at a special networking event, it should be more relaxed. Yet, always professional.
- Concise information. An elevator pitch is short. Include only the most necessary information and avoid technical terms. Once again, this is the conversation starter, not the closing deal.
What questions should you answer when writing an elevator pitch?
When creating an elevator pitch, you must address these questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- What can you do for the business?
- What do you want?
If you don’t know what to say in an elevator pitch, present your skills and achievements while addressing how they can meet the company’s needs.
What to include in an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch should include:
- The position that best represents you
- Your years of experience
- Your best skills
- Your skills that benefit the company
- An accomplishment that can impress the hiring manager
- Why you’re interested in this company
- What problem you can solve for the company or what benefit your bring
- Your call to action
How long should an elevator pitch be?
The elevator pitch should take between 30 and 60 seconds. Its name comes from how long you would speak to someone in an elevator. Avoid taking more time. If your pitch doesn’t spark interest and you think you need more time to convince the person, simply leave the elevator and go back to working on your pitch.
What makes an elevator pitch effective?
An elevator pitch is effective when the message you wanted to convey is understood by its audience. A successful elevator pitch will pique the interest of the listener and result in an opened door to potential career advancement.
Test it with a friend or colleague. Practice your elevator pitch with them and ask what they understood. If it is the same idea that you’re pitching, it worked. Another sign of an effective elevator pitch is fulfilling your request. If you meet a recruiter at a networking event, and they reach out, interested in what you said, the pitch worked.
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