An elevator pitch or 1-minute commercial is a short introduction of your career skills, experience and interests.
It's designed to help you briefly communicate your personal brand any time you meet a potential employer, client or contact.
The term "elevator pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver your personal self-marketing summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately 30 seconds to two minutes.
The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride, or end in exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting.
When you only have a few minutes of someone's time, having a well-prepared, elevator pitch can make those few minutes count. A successful pitch is where the other person relaxes and says, "Interesting. Tell me more."
Creating your elevator pitch
- Keep your commercial simple and brief, and always include who you are, what you want to do and why it matters (or what the employer/client will get out of it).
- Use a story or example to demonstrate your best qualities.
- Use strong, action-packed words and speak in a confident, personable tone.
- Be relevant. List the accomplishments (paid, unpaid, work, education or life experiences) that are relevant and compelling to your audience.
- If job searching, be clear about the job title, function and industry you are interested in.
- Practice your commercial, but don't memorize; you want to sound natural!
- Make a connection between yourself and your new acquaintance. End with a question to draw the contact into the conversation.
Where to use your elevator pitch
- in an interview, in response to, "Tell me about yourself."
- in a follow-up phone call or email, to summarize your qualifications and interest
- while networking, to help you make a clear, positive first impression
- at a career fair, to introduce yourself quickly to employers
Sample elevator pitches
Hello. My name is Eileen Conner. I'm a production assistant with a BA in communications, and three years in the broadcasting and public relations industry. I have extensive experience developing and researching topics, pre-interviewing guests and producing on-location video tapings.
I've been watching your station for some time, and I'm impressed with your innovative approach and fast growth. I recently sent you my resume and was wondering if you anticipate any openings for someone with my experience.
New graduate seeking a marketing position
My name is Ritchie Evans, and I just graduated from the University of Denver with a marketing degree. I know you are busy, but you might find my skills helpful within your travel company.
When I was an undergraduate, I had an opportunity to be a member of an interdisciplinary student consulting team that developed a marketing plan to promote American tourism for the village of Salemi, Sicily. After presenting the plan to the village council and local tourism officials, the plan was adopted, and tourism has increased by 42 percent in the last year.
Here's my card and a link to the village website that I helped create. I'd like to have the opportunity to talk with you further. Could I give you a call next week?
Need some help crafting your elevator pitch? Contact our career counselors.