Imagine that you’re in an elevator minding your own business when a top-level executive with the influence to jumpstart your career walks in and says hello. You have no more than the time it takes to reach the exec’s destination to introduce yourself and why you’re important to the company’s future. That’s the idea behind an elevator pitch.
Whether you’re a student or an experienced professional, a solid elevator pitch can help you make the most of professional networking events. It can also help you to shine during that crucial “tell me about yourself” section of a job interview.
What Is an Elevator Pitch?
Your pitch should be a short, succinct introduction to who you are, what you’ve done, and maybe even where you see yourself in the future. You want to make it memorable, but it’s important to stay true to your personal style. If you have a personal story that illustrates your passion for an industry or a company, feel free to share it. But don’t force it. Hiring managers will know when you’re being genuine and when you’re faking.
At the end of the day, an elevator pitch is about leaving someone with the impression that their time will be well spent getting to know you better. A lot of people think that they’ll just wing it – after all, it’s just a self-introduction, they tell themselves. Yet, the reality is that the better prepared you are, the better your chances of success.
Tips for Crafting Your Pitch
Mastering your elevator pitch can take time, but the potential payoff makes it worth the effort. These tips should help you craft a compelling pitch.
(1.) Have a short and long version of your pitch
By definition, an elevator pitch should be brief. For networking purposes, a 30-second pitch should suffice. But some situations, such as the start of a job interview, may merit a self-introduction that takes a minute or two and includes additional details. Therefore, it helps to have a short and long version ready.
(2.) Tailor your pitch to the situation
Like a resume, an elevator pitch should be tailored to your target audience. Let’s say you’re a data analyst trying to make the transition into a marketing role. Your interviewer will likely be less interested in the inner workings of your data models than how your analysis impacted the goals of the sales and marketing team. Keep this in mind when you craft your pitch.
(3.) Be prepared to go off script
Chances are not every interviewer will set you up to run through your pitch from start to finish. Many will start off with the classic “Tell me about yourself…” prompt, in which case you probably won’t have to deviate from your script. Others might start off by asking, “What made you decide to apply to this role?” or “What can you do for us?”. In this case, you can still utilize the core components of your pitch, but you’ll need to adjust the presentation on the fly to sync up with your interviewer.
(4.) Don’t try to cover everything
Your elevator pitch should provide an overview of who you are and what you’ve done. Don’t try to cover everything. You want to make it memorable. You want to highlight some of your accomplishments. But leave room for follow-up questions.
(5.) Deliver it naturally
Telling you to script out your pitch and to deliver it naturally may seem like contradictory advice, but it’s not. Pitching yourself, especially in the context of a job interview, can be stressful. The idea is to practice your pitch until you know it inside and out. Knowing you’re well-prepared will help you relax, especially when confronted by a high-stress situation. It will also let you deliver your pitch in a calm and collected manner.
Example Elevator Pitch
The following is an example of a longer-form elevator pitch – the type that you might use to introduce yourself at a job interview. Again, you should feel free to make your elevator pitch your own, and let your personality show through.
Currently, I am a business analyst that acts as a consultant to internal clients.
In this role, I determine research goals with stakeholders across organization, work with internal and external datasets, construct databases and models, and present relevant findings and recommendations to executive-level colleagues.
I was instrumental in automating and streamlining many of our workflows, which earned me a promotion last year. But I am probably most proud of my success in supplying our sales team with great insights – my research was used to make critical changes to the sales process, leading to a revenue uplift of more than 15%.
Prior to this position, I worked as a business analyst for an educational software company, where I used CRM data to generate recommendations for business process improvements.
My educational background is in business, and I focused many of my classes on acquiring the quantitative skills needed to be a successful analyst.
With more than three years of experience under my belt, I’m seeking to apply my quantitative and qualitative analysis skills to a more strategic position. I’ve had a lot of success working with both internal and external clients, which is I believe that the role of associate consultant is a great match for me.