Elevator Pitch Writing Tips & Examples

Developing an elevator pitch can be an invaluable tool in meeting opportunity with preparedness. Here are our elevator pitch writing tips & examples.

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Elevator Pitch

You are waiting in line at a coffee shop before a big interview. You have a winning resume and cover letter in hand and are practicing interview questions in your head. You stroll into the interview room confidently, ready to blow them away. After sitting down, the first thing the hiring manager says is, “Before we get started, I’d love it if you could tell me a little bit about yourself.”

You choke up for a second. You didn’t see this one coming. You start racking your brain, wondering – Where do I even begin?

As a former corporate recruiter, I have seen this scenario play out time and time again. Unless well-rehearsed, many end up rambling on about their entire life, from birth until sitting in the interview. Others give a long winded, line-by-line account of their work history, leaving little to be discussed for the duration of the meeting.

To make sure you don’t blow an interview before it even begins, follow this easy-to-use guide for writing a persuasive elevator pitch.

What Is An Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch, also known as an elevator speech, is a brief description or introduction of who you are professionally. It gets its name from the fact that you should be able to recite this introduction to someone in the time it takes to ride an elevator with them.

When To Use An Elevator Pitch

Elevator pitches are essential for many professional interactions. As noted above, being asked to tell an interviewer about yourself is the perfect time to whip your elevator speech out. Elevator speeches should also be deployed when talking to potential employers at job or career fairs.

Elevator speeches can be used during less formal occasions, as well, like during a networking event or a work function. They are also handy when you spark up a conversation with someone at a coffee shop or at a social function.

Since so many people turn to social media to research others, your LinkedIn profile summary and Twitter bio are perfect places to add an adapted elevator pitch version.

What To Include In Your Elevator Pitch

 An elevator pitch should answer three critical questions:

#1: Who you are

#2: What you do

#3 What you are trying to accomplish

Points #1 and #2 should remain relatively consistent, no matter what environment you are using your elevator pitch in. Point #3 is more of a variable and will change depending on your audience and situation.

How To Structure An Elevator Pitch

Answer Question #1: Who You Are

The first thing to include in your elevator pitch is a personal introduction, combined with how you define yourself professionally. Your professional definition could be a job title, a role, or the fact that you are a student. Here are examples for three different professional definitions.

Employed: “Hi! My name is Larry Jones. I am a Business Analyst at ABC Bank within the cybersecurity division.”

Self-Employed: “Hi! My name is Emily Bruss. I am a retired finance executive currently working as an independent stock broker.”

Student: “Hi! My name is Jane Wilson. I am currently a student at FSU pursuing a Masters of Business Administration.”

Answer Question #2: What Do You Do?

The next step is to explain what you do in life by giving a 2 to 3 sentence summary of your background. Depending on your employment status, this summary could include your education, work experience, passions, or professional mission. Here are three examples, corresponding to each employment status.

Currently Employed: If you are currently employed, give an overview of what your organization does, focusing on the people you help and the problems you solve.

“Did you know that large-scale cybersecurity breaches are growing by 27% every year? And because of our data’s value, the majority of those attacks are targeted specifically towards the banking industry. As a cybersecurity business analyst, we are making daily strides in preventing attacks before they happen, so we can continue to promise our 30 million customers that their data is safe.”

Not Currently Employed: If you are not employed, give a brief overview of your professional background, including the industries and capacities you have worked in.

“Prior to retiring, I worked my way up, over many years, from bank teller to CFO. My career brought me to many amazing international locations where I worked with financial institutions, ranging from small credit unions to large, multi-nationals.”

Student: If you are a student, focus on the classes you have taken and your extracurricular activities.

“In addition to my MBA coursework, I am focusing on a minor in talent management, as I hope to work my way up to CEO one day. To start practicing my management skills, I have taken on a volunteer job at my school’s study center where I am responsible for scheduling and overseeing a team of 15 tutors.”

Answer Question #3: What Are You Trying To Accomplish?

This part of your elevator pitch will change depending on the scenario. It is important to adjust this portion to your audience and to remain focused on your goal, whether that is to gain a new client, to land a new job, or to expand your professional network. Here are examples for three different environments that you might find yourself giving an elevator pitch in.

Networking Event: If you are at an industry networking event, include the type of clients and business you are looking for.

“Now that I am retired, I am looking to work with high net worth individuals to help them buy, sell, and trade stocks. My ideal clients have a moderate understanding of the stock market, but don’t have the time to research and execute trades themselves.”

Job Interview: If you are interviewing for a job, explain what you are looking for in a position. Be careful though, as your description should align with the position you are interviewing for.

“With my graduation quickly approaching, I am looking to find a position as a Strategic Business Consultant where I can use my skills in talent management and financial planning to help companies become more profitable and efficient”.

Social Setting: If you are simply networking or meeting someone in a casual or social setting, you can close your elevator pitch out with an invitation to continue your professional relationship.

“I am always looking to network with likeminded individuals and would love to keep in touch. Do you have a business card that we can exchange? Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the banking industry or cybersecurity.”

Put It All Together – Elevator Pitch Examples

Now that you have answered all three questions, it’s time to put everything together. Check out these three real-life elevator pitch examples:

Example 1

Hi! My name is Larry Jones. I am a Business Analyst at ABC Bank within the cybersecurity division.“

Did you know that large-scale cybersecurity breaches are growing by 27% every year? And because of our data’s value, the majority of those attacks are targeted specifically towards the banking industry. As a cybersecurity business analyst, we are making daily strides in preventing attacks before they happen, so we can continue to promise our 30 million customers that their data is safe.

I am always looking to network with likeminded individuals and would love to keep in touch. Do you have a business card that we can exchange? Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the banking industry or cybersecurity.”

 Example 2

“Hi! My name is Emily Bruss. I am a retired finance executive currently working as an independent stock broker.

Prior to retiring, I worked my way up, over many years, from bank teller to CFO. My career brought me to many amazing international locations where I worked with financial institutions, ranging from small credit unions to large, multi-nationals.

Now that I am retired, I am looking to work with high net worth individuals to help them buy, sell, and trade stocks. My ideal clients have a moderate understanding of the stock market, but don’t have the time to research and execute trades themselves.”

Example 3

“Hi! My name is Jane Wilson. I am a currently student at FSU pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree.

In addition to my MBA coursework, I am focusing on a minor in talent management, as I hope to work my way up to CEO one day. To start practicing my management skills, I have taken on a volunteer job at my school’s study center where I am responsible for scheduling and overseeing a team of 15 tutors.

With my graduation quickly approaching, I am looking to find a position as a Strategic Business Consultant where I can use my skills in talent management and financial planning to help companies become more profitable and efficient.”

How Long Should An Elevator Pitch Be?

While there is no absolute timeframe, an elevator pitch should be between 2-7 minutes long. The length will depend on your setting and audience. While at a networking event or a social setting, try to keep your elevator pitch on the shorter side (2-4 minutes), as it is typically not appropriate to talk on and on about yourself. When in an interview, on the other hand, feel free to use a longer elevator pitch (4-7 minutes) to make sure the hiring manager has a clear and comprehensive understanding of who you are.

What Not To Do In An Elevator Pitch

Don’t Ramble: This is the most common issue with elevator pitches, especially if it hasn’t been well-rehearsed. Avoid rambling or going off on tangents. Your elevator pitch should be short, clear, and concise. You can usually tell from the other person’s body language if you are talking too much, so make sure you are aware of their non-verbal cues, like looking away or raising their eyebrows.

Don’t Get Personal: Yes, I know the interviewer might have asked you to tell them about yourself. But I assure you they meant professionally, not personally. There is no need to include your age, your marital status, your favorite sport, or your relationship issues.

Don’t Speak Too Fast or Too Slow: Even though your elevator pitch is rehearsed, it should come out as natural, not like you are reciting speech. Use a conversational tone that is friendly and personable and speak at a normal speed.

Don’t Forget Your Body Language: 55% of communication is body language, so remember to be aware of your posture, facial expressions, and demeanor. A key part of giving an effective and persuasive elevator pitch is to create a personal connection- So smile, keep eye contact, and stand or sit in an open stance.

Why Is An Elevator Pitch Important?

An elevator pitch is important because, as we know, first impressions can make or break someone’s feelings about you. If you are in an elevator or at a networking event, your elevator pitch is typically the first thing someone will hear coming out of your mouth, and an unrehearsed or confusing elevator speech could set the conversation down the wrong course.

During an interview, your elevator pitch is even more important. It sets the stage for the hiring manager and they will be making an immediate first impression on whether you are confident and well-spoken or nervous and impersonal.

As a whole, your elevator pitch is your 2-7 minutes to shine. When done correctly, others will walk away remembering how impressive you were. This could open many doors, including new clients, new professional connections, or even a new job.

 

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