The Art of the Elevator Pitch

The Art of the Elevator Pitch

Who, What, When, Where & How!

An elevator pitch is often used when you are first meeting someone and is a short introduction that expresses who you are. In the case of a job search, it should also briefly express some of your relevant background and interest in the organization and/or position. Let’s get you started!

Keep Reading to Learn:

  • When and where to use your pitch
  • Content topics typically associated with the elevator pitch
  • A short sample to reference as you craft your own pitch!

When do you need one?

Two of the most common places you’ll use your elevator pitch are at job fairs and networking events. You can also think of it as the answer to the interview question “Tell me about yourself.” Really, any time you’re meeting someone for the first time is a good situation for an elevator pitch!

TIP: If you’re at a job fair or networking event, you’ll also want to work on perfecting the art of offering someone your resume and asking for a business card or LinkedIn connection as a part of your pitch.

Why Craft One?

Be Prepared

Events can be fast-paced and crowded, so it’s important to have a clear and concise introduction of yourself ready to go. Your elevator speech will give you the confidence you need to make a lasting impression on potential employers.

Stand Out from the Crowd

With so many attendees at events, it can be difficult to make a lasting impression. An elevator speech will help you stand out from the crowd by showcasing your unique skills and experiences.

Showcase Your Passion

An elevator speech is a great opportunity to showcase your passion for your field and the reasons why you’re interested in a particular industry or company. This will help potential employers remember you and your interests.

Make Connections

Career events are all about making connections. Your elevator speech will help you start a conversation and make a lasting impression on potential employers.

Components of an Elevator Pitch

There is no one “right” formula but here are some key components, and suggested topics.

Be engaged in the conversation and demonstrate positive body language, which includes: smiling, maintaining eye contact, a firm handshake, good posture.

You can include some personal information, like where you’re from, a little about your family or hobbies, favorite sports teams, etc.

Be sure to tell them about your academic background. What degree you are completing and program you’re studying, and perhaps connect that to the industries and careers you’re interested in.

Be sure to speak about your work experiences and some of the relevant skills you have gained.

It’s helpful to wrap up an elevator pitch by letting them know why you’re talking to them, or perhaps by asking them a question!

Any connection to the employer.  Perhaps you went to their information session or talked to them at a previous fair or research you’ve done ahead of time.   Even mentioning that a relative/friend works for the employer can help make a connection. If you have a connection to the employer, highlight it!

Below are a few more ideas of how to put the content together!

Sample Formula #1

  • A Little Bit of Personal:
  • Educational:
  • Involvement, Leadership, Volunteer, Athletics, Study Abroad, Etc.:
  • Work, Internship, Etc.:
  • Wrap it up:

Samples Formula #2

  • Name ​
  • Class (senior, junior, 2nd year, 1st year) ​
  • Major Concentration
  • Opportunities you are seeking ​
  • Industry of interest
  • Relevant experience (work, internship, activities, volunteer work) ​
  • Highlights of interests & skills ​
  • Ask a starter-question based on your knowledge of the company or simple curiosity (How many interns do you have each summer?)​

Sample Elevator Pitch

I grew up in a small town in Northwestern Minnesota with my two brothers. I came to the University of St. Thomas because of its size and proximity to the Twin Cities. I knew I wanted to be able to experience city life and see more of my favorite sports teams (the Minnesota Twins and Wild) in action!

In my first year of College, I took a Psychology class, and I really enjoyed learning about the complexity of human interactions and relationships, but I also knew I loved the idea of working in a business setting. I explored some different majors and ultimately landed on Human Resources. I joined the Society of Human Resources Management on campus and am currently the Vice President. I’ve been loving it so far, and have even been able to spend some time working in the University’s Human Resources Office, getting more exposure to the field.

I understand that you work in training and development, and that’s an area I’ve been able to help out with at work and have really gotten curious about. Would you mind telling me more about what you do?

Another Sample Elevator Pitch

Hi, my name is John Stewart, and I am a junior in Mechanical Engineering. I had the opportunity to job shadow in the automotive industry this summer and recently joined the Society of Automotive Engineers where I plan to be a part of the Formula SAE team. I am most interested in joining Ford Motor Company in your Design & Assembly area of Manufacturing & Quality. What types of projects do you typically have your interns work on?

Reverse Career Fair Talking Points

Hi, my name is Angela Fromm, and I am a junior in Mechanical Engineering.

What is your name and which employer are you representing?

     (the information provided may guide what you say next!)

Parting Tips:

  • Your introduction expresses who you are and what you have to offer an employer.
  • Point out what makes you unique as a candidate, your “hook.”
  • Be conversational, try not to sound robotic, like a rehearsed speech you have delivered 10 times.
  • Practice your introduction aloud – more than once!

Next Steps

  • Draft your pitch
  • Ask for feedback from a career educator in the Career Development Center or mentor or advisor
  • Rehearse for different scenarios with different people
  • Be flexible as your pitch may change based on who you engage with