An elevator pitch is crucial for networking and landing interviews for internships and jobs. The purpose is to quickly tell someone who you are, what you do, and what value you can bring to their company.
It’s called an “elevator pitch” because the content and length of the pitch is meant to simulate being stuck in an elevator with the hiring manager of your dream company, going from the bottom floor to the top. As you can imagine, you need to be quick and effective in order to be successful.
At its core, your elevator pitch is all about selling yourself. That’s why an elevator pitch can feel awkward at first for college students. However, with the right guidance, mindset and tips, you’ll be doing elevator pitches in your sleep.
How to Create a Great Elevator Pitch
The proper length of an elevator pitch is around 30 seconds. Think of it like a 30-second advertisement for communicating your interests and skill set. However, in order for it to fit the context of a regular conversation, it needs to be natural, yet direct and informative.
Ultimately, you want to compel the person you’re speaking with to take action on your behalf (e.g. offer insight, additional contacts, or a job right on the spot!).
Let’s go through the steps of preparing a great elevator pitch, along with an elevator pitch example.
Step 1: Write down your goal.
Before you start shaking hands and patting backs at networking events, make sure you have a goal. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time. Believe me – I’ve done that more than I’d like to admit.
People that have a plan and a vision are attractive because they represent more than the current moment. In a business setting, this shows other people that you’re serious and it provides a basis upon which the person can lend aid. Be specific about your goal!
Step 1 Example: Get the Marine Mammal Education and Research summer internship at the Boston Aquarium after my sophomore year of college.
Step 2: Write down who you are and what you’ve been doing lately.
You want to start off by establishing an identity. Are you a student? What’s your major? Are you an influential member of a company, club, or organization? What has your influence been? Be specific and memorable.
Step 2 Example: My name’s Joe Smith and I’ve been a member of the Marine Biology Club at Pretty Cool College for two years. I’m currently leading a project focused on the effects of warmer sea temperatures on whale migration patterns.
Step 3: Write down what makes you unique.
The only reason a company would want to hire you is if you’re an asset to the company, and companies want assets with unique skills. If you’re like everybody else, your chances diminish.
Step 3 Example: This past year, I’ve been conducting interviews with field scientists who are researching whale migration patterns. I’ve built really effective teams that can organize the information properly and determine the right questions to ask next. I’m confident I’d be a great addition to any research team, especially one that shares my passion for Marine Biology.
Step 4: Write down an engaging closing statement.
Leading up to this point, you’ve been setting the table for your audience – now is the time to capitalize on their attention and get something in return.
A strong closing is your key to taking the next step in the process. Put the ball in their court. And make it simple!
Step 4 Example: Here’s my card. I’d like to discuss the internship opportunities at the Boston Aquarium further. Can you tell me what type of candidate you’re looking for?
Step 5: Do the finishing touches: format and flow.
Your completed elevator pitch example would look like this:
Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I’ve been a member of the Marine Biology Club at Pretty Cool College for two years. I’m currently leading a project focused on the effects of warmer sea temperatures on whale migration patterns.
This past year, I’ve been conducting interviews with scientists that are in the field researching whale migration patterns. I’ve built really effective teams that organize information properly and determine the right questions to ask next. I’m confident I’d be a great addition to any research team, especially one that shares my passion for Marine Biology.
This Summer I want to work as a Marine Mammal Education and Research intern at the Boston Aquarium.
Here’s my card. I’d like to discuss the internship opportunities at the Boston Aquarium further. Can you tell me what type of candidate you’re looking for?
Obviously, this example would best represent a situation in which you’re speaking with someone whose network could provide access to the internship at the Boston Aquarium. Your elevator pitch will change depending on who you’re talking to or the company you’re trying to work for.
Additionally, if the interaction must be brief, handing them your card and setting up a time to speak at a later time would work as well. Read the situation and be prepared to change your approach if necessary.
Step 6: Practice out loud.
Practice makes perfect! You don’t want to sound like a robot when delivering your elevator pitch and you don’t want to memorize it word for word. Learn what the talking points are and practice until you feel natural bringing up each critical point without thinking about each word.
First, say the words out loud while reading them in order. Once that becomes too boring, simulate a real conversation using a friend or relative. To keep you on your toes, have them switch up their approach from time to time. Also, make sure they give you constructive feedback to work with.
The elevator pitch example and tips we discussed here are perfect for college students but can be applied to just about any situation. Got any specific questions or concerns? Send me an email directly or let me know in the comments.
All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Home at 30 and are in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution. The purpose of this blog is to give general education and information about investing, wealth, careers, and college; It is not intended to be professional advice.
Author: Josh Ramos
Josh attended Wake Forest University and paid a fortune for it. Since then, he’s realized the obstacles that Americans face in moving up on the ladder of wealth. By founding Home at 30, he wants to help students learn the skills necessary for taking the next step on their journey to building wealth.