The Elevator Pitch

No matter where, when, or how (before you graduate, after you graduate, etc.), someday you may be lucky enough to meet your career hero, be it Mark Zuckerburg or the chairman of Google. If you are a writer, you may be lucky enough to meet your favorite author, agent, or publisher. What do you do? You prepare for success and pitch yourself.

An elevator pitch is a short synopsis of your skills and abilities, and like any other sales pitch, first impressions are important. These pitches are also important when you go to job fairs, networking events, or conferences.
Your elevator pitch is a summary (or thesis, if you will) of your answer to the question "Tell me a little about yourself?" - an often used opener to the job interview.

Here are some of the basics from

1) Keep it short. No more than 60 seconds.

2) Be Persuasive. This is a double-edged sword, be persuasive, not needy.

3) Share your skills. Not the fact that you won the disco roller-blade championship, but those skills that would be valuable to the person (company) sharing the elevator with you.

4) Practice, practice, practice. Every phone on the planet these days can record videos, so record yourself. If you sound like Data from Star Trek, you need to practice a lot more, or a lot less (sometimes too much practice leads to robotic speech patterns). One of the downfalls of memorizing any material is that when we get nervous we tend to speed up our speech. Be mindful and deliberately slow down.

5) Be flexible. Or at least appear to be open-minded and flexible.

6) Mention your goals . . . briefly. "I would like to work in accounting," or "I would love to work on the Google main campus as an engineer."

7) Know your audience and speak to them. Here's another balancing act. Use professional jargon (shows you are knowledgeable), but that may not work with the HR person who does not know what "WYSIWYG editing parameters" means.

8) Have a business card ready. There are plenty of places to get cheap, personalized business cards. Be sure it includes your name, a contact (email or telephone), and some of your skills (illustrator, graphic designer, software engineer, technical writer, etc.).

9) Don't ramble. If that 60 seconds extends to 90 seconds, don't fill the time with your latest exploits at Dragon Con. Avoid going off track. Instead, ask a question, and then wait for an answer.

10) Have multiple elevator pitches. Tailor your pitch to a specific audience. The CEO of Google would not be interested in an elevator pitch directed at the CEO of Disney.

Careerbalance even offers some good samples:

"I recently graduated from college with a degree in communications. I worked on the college newspaper as a reporter, and eventually, as the editor of the arts section. I'm looking for a job that will put my skills as a journalist to work.

"I create illustrations for websites and brands. My passion is coming up with creative ways to express a message, and drawing illustrations that people share on social media."

Have you ever been to a party, or on an elevator, or in a line at Universal studios next to your corporate hero? Did you have a pitch ready? Did you panic? What would you like to cover in your pitch?


  1. I've never been in a situation where I've had to pitch my personal skills and future aspirations to a potential employer. However, if I ever was in a position to pitch myself, I would want to make aware that I'm a college student (or college graduate) with a degree in English and a desire to work in a journalist field. While in community college, I was a co-editor for the school's literary journal and a contributor. I've also had a past with working on stories for my university's newspaper called The Pioneer, and have a portfolio of all the stories I've written for that newspaper. And lastly, I also have experience in technical writing if the company isn't looking for journalists but instead needs someone to write technical documents.

  2. I've never been in a situation where I've had to pitch myself to someone but I think I would try and make myself sound as marketable as possible.

    I graduated with a degree in English with a concentration in Language and Literacies from a distinguished university. I held an internship at a local non-profit teaching English to recent immigrants and I taught college students in Spain for many years. My passion is empowering non-native speakers to achieve their goals through learning English.

    *Disclaimer: I have never done any of the above mentioned things but they are goals of mine and I hope I will be able to pitch myself in that way in the future.

  3. Personally, I have never been in a situation where my corporate hero was within my near vicinity. However, I took a short course where I had to think of an elevator pitch and play it out with one of the Professors. It was nerve wracking for me because we hadn't had a lot of time to think about what we had to say and I'm not usually a person that comes up with stuff on the spot. As a first practice, it wasn't too bad and I learned a lot from the experience. My overall goal is to be a high school English teacher so I am planning to cover any teaching experience I have accumulated, hopefully, before then. After getting my bachelor's degree in English and before teaching in a high school, I want to teach English abroad either in a Spanish speaking country or in Asia. I want to use the teaching experience I would gain through these events to better sell my abilities in order to get my dream job.

  4. While I have not meet with anyone from my career field as of yet, I have practiced my pitch with some of my classmates. Since I have a bit of trouble speaking, my pitch came out stressed and hesitant. However I do think I will improve if I practice more and more, yet I would still need to plan out what I want to say. Outlines are my guide to speaking and I think I can deliver a pitch if I have more time to prepare. Most of what I would cover in my pitch would be some of my skills in the field and what be humble about some of the things that I have accomplished. I will also need to keep in mind of my audience and not repeat myself in case time drags on.

    Katherine M.W. Soto

  5. I have been once in a situation where I should do elevator pitch. That was when I attended State Fall Business Leadership Conference that held by California Phi Beta Lambda
    last year. There were two speakers that came to the Conference. I remembered pitching to the one who is the Founder of a social media platform. Also, in that semester, I enrolled in the Introduction to Business class that taught me how to do elevator pitch effectively. My professor showed us a video how to do elevator pitch well. However, before and while pitching myself to the speaker, I was shaking. At that time, what I said to him was I am a college student from Diablo Valley College and I am majoring in Business Administration. I am also an active member of Diablo Valley College Phi Beta Lambda. Furthermore, I have goal that after graduating from college, I want to get involved in the Business Development section or even in the Business Accounting section. I also have past experiences when I became an Accounting Intern in one of hotel chains in Indonesia during the summer. Thus, if I'm looking forward to working with you on the next level of my career. However, that was my first time pitching; thus, I want to make sure the next time I do it, I will be more confident.

    Carissa Tantiono

  6. I have been in similar positions before where I had someone whom was from a higher position that I had respected. It was at my Japanese University's Study Abroad fair, while I was tabling for my home university, my Globalization Professor introduced me to one of his colleagues whom runs a large International Education Organization in Tokyo. This person is someone whom I wish to be in his role in my career, thus I had to prepare a short elevator pitch to get him interested in me. I made sure to remain confident in the way I presented myself and highlighted my current accomplishments while also remaining humble when explaining them. I do not panic when situations like this happen because it will portray me as nervous and meek to the person I am pitching to. Thus I know it is important to stay confident as well as authentic to that person because it helps paint a better picture of who I truly am. I am continuing this method as I am starting my interviews for teaching abroad in Japan this October.

    ~Uzi Gonzalez 宇治

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Jagmeet Randhawa

    Engl 126

    I have never been in that type of situation, but if i was, I don't think I would be ready. I would need to prepare before. I have good idea of what I would say, but have never been in that situation, so I don't know for sure what I would do. I feel like the tips in this article are good, and will be helpful. A elevator pitch should be unique, and short. Having Multiple elevator pitches is a good idea, and would be helpful when you get in a situation, where you have to deliver your pitch

  9. This blog is talking about skills and abilities. It is talking about writing tips for an essay. It could help you setup your essay correctly. Writing tips can be a lot easy to follow and process. It will help you succeed in the future.

  10. Casandra Ralleta

    I have never been in a situation in which I needed an elevator pitch. However, my father often helps with interviews at his work and comes home with stories about the elevator ride up to the actual interview. Usually in those few minutes he already knows if someone will be considered for the job. If I was ever in a similar situation I would hope to be calm and collected and know exactly what to say. In my pitch I would illustrate my passion for Chemistry and lab work and work ethic qualities including patience, optimism, and diligence.

  11. I have never been in a situation where I have been in with my corporate hero but I did encounter something similar to this. In my general studies class we had to make elevator pitches to practice if this ever occurred. We made quick 60 second pitches that explained what we want to pursue, what school we are enrolled in, what type of skills we have, and ended with how helpful it would be to get an internship with that company. By doing this, it gave us an idea what a good pitch would be like. In mine I made sure I shared my goals and experiences so the person I'm talking to can get some background information about me. The more we practiced I was able to say it without stuttering which helped me gain a little confidence.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What Superpower Would You Choose?

Marxist Literary Theory Made Easy

Ancient Rome: When Being a Teen was Tough