Crafting Your Elevator Pitch
The elevator pitch is a quick and concise introduction we use when speaking with people about our interests, plans, and goals.
An elevator pitch can be anywhere from 10 seconds to 2 minutes - you may have a 15-second version to use at a packed job fair, a 30-second version for a networking event, and even a minute to two-minute one for kicking off a final round interview.
This is all to say -- do NOT underestimate the elevator pitch. First impressions really matter, and your elevator pitch is the crucial bridge connecting you and your interviewer.
The question "Tell Me About Yourself" is the quintessential interview question. No matter the industry, company, or role, you will be asked this question.
It's a hard question, but because it's so universal this means you know you need to prepare for it. And with this guide, you will learn how to craft an outstanding elevator pitch that will start off your interview strong and give you the momentum and energy you need to ace your interviews, impress your interviewers, and hopefully land that job and/or internship offer.
When brainstorming your elevator pitch, start by thinking about what matters to you:
What are your current roles? Student? Intern? Club Leader? Research Assistant?
What is your current career interest, and how has that developed over time?
What skills and experiences have you developed that may be applicable to this field? What relevant accomplishments and achievements can you highlight?
What is it that you want to know from someone in this field? And what are your goals and future (short-term, mid-term, long-term) plans?
Your elevator pitch essentially summarizes your identity, background, experiences, ambitions, and goals in the span of 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes. To have an idea of how to communicate the totality of who you are, you need to think about these questions and have concrete answers. It is only then that we can begin putting it altogether.
Furthermore, remember that you won’t have just one elevator pitch. Develop your introduction, then alter it to be appropriate for different audiences and situations. Your elevator pitch for a student club, for instance, will likely be very different from your elevator pitch for a marketing gig at a two-week old startup, a or full-time strategy & ops position at a multi-billion dollar corporation.
PRACTICE delivering your introduction to friends (and to yourself in the mirror, even record yourself so you can review and play back the footage!), and once you feel comfortable with your pitch, it will be much easier to adapt it on the fly.
So, think a little about your elevator pitch, and when you’re ready you can format your thoughts into this simple template:
I’m < Name>, a <Freshman-Sophomore-Junior-Senior-Postgrad> at < University> majoring in <Major - Concentration>. I previously <Past Internship, Work/Research Experience>, and have <Major Accomplishment>. I am highly experienced in <Relevant Skill> because <Reason>, and am an accomplished <Relevant Quality re: Leader, Communicator, Innovator, etc.> because <Reason>.
Because <Interest, Passion>, I am highly interested in <Company, Position> and believe I am a strong professional and cultural fit for this opportunity. In this interview, I look forward to demonstrating what I am capable of, and what I can do for <Company, Mission, Team, Department>.
Over time, you should begin personalizing your elevator pitch to match your brand and persona. And when you do, your elevator pitch will not only be highly structured but also undeniably you. These are the best kinds of elevator pitches, the introductions that will make you stand out from the crowd and earn you genuine respect and attention.
You will use your elevator pitch time and time again, so now is the perfect opportunity to make one yourself, test it in low-stress environments like coffee chats, and get better and better at it via time and practice.