Elevator Pitch Guide

Why an Elevator Pitch?

If you have a competitive pitch, an employer will be intrigued and will want to learn more about you. Your elevator pitch will convey the essential ideas from your brand statement and bring your story to life.

You can use your elevator pitch in a variety of circumstances.

  • The answer to an opening “Tell us about yourself” question in an interview
  • At a networking event (a meet-up, job fair)
  • At an informational interview
  • Literally, when meeting someone in an elevator or on a plane or at a grocery store

You will alter the pitch based on the audience and purpose, but the essential ideas should stay the same. It helps to have a basic pitch that you are ready to use and tailor to any given situation. To prepare your pitch, think about what you would add to your branding statement in a conversation.

What Makes a Great Elevator Pitch?

  • It is brief — approximately 30 seconds.
  • It is delivered with composure. This means you are not speaking too fast, you sound confident, and you are making eye contact.
  • It includes who are, what you do, and what you want to do.

How to Use Your Pitch in an Interview

Make it about you.

  • Who you are, what you do, and what you want to do.
  • Show passion, enthusiasm, and willingness to learn. These characteristics are very valuable for anybody jumping into an entry-level position, transitioning to a new career, or entering a new company.
  • Be unique. Find identifiers in your own story that help you stand apart from other applicants. Be willing to open up.

Tailor the pitch to the company.

  • Highlight aspects of the company mission/product/team that appeal to you and lead you to apply for the role.
  • Reference the company culture.

Tailor the pitch to the job.

  • Find projects from the coursework where you have used the kinds of technologies/methods/tools listed on the field-specific list of the job description.
  • Identify transferable skills from unrelated work experience (i.e. collaborating across departments, working with a team, meeting deadlines, juggling multiple priorities).

Tailor the pitch to the interviewer.

  • Connect with the interviewer personally and show that you know who they are.

How to Use Your Pitch for Networking

Connect with the person.

  • Strive to be warm and friendly; ask questions to show genuine interest and to give you information so you can tailor your pitch.

Talk about your strengths and goals.

  • You identified these in your brand statement. They are a mix of your skills, strengths, and personal attributes.

Talk about projects with exciting technologies/methods/tools that are more marketable.

  • Emphasize excitement about these new technologies/methods/tools and talk about why they are powerful and what makes them so functional.

Think about the project of which you are most proud.

  • By doing so, you reflect true enthusiasm and expertise. Be sure to include why it makes sense to use the technologies for that particular project.

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