An elevator pitch is similar to a personal selling statement. A good pitch lasts between 15 and 45 seconds — about the length of an elevator ride. They should also be flexible — they’re meant to be conversational. Be sure to make room for questions and answers.
Introduce yourself and note your credentials, such as your major or degree. If possible, reference something that differentiates you from your peers. The start of a conversation is also the perfect time to establish a relationship. If you had the same major or similar experience to the person, this would be a good time to create a connection.
Once you’ve completed initial introductions, draft a one to two sentence story that describes your experience. This can be job, internship, or schoolwork experiences. When the person understands your role and goals, then they are in a better position to help you. You want to be able to show how your expertise can benefit their company. Be sure to use concrete statements like “I would like a position in the accounting department” rather than “I’d like a position here”.
Now is the time to share information about some combination of your leadership, experience, achievements, expertise, skills, and strengths. What makes you qualified to do the job, and how long have you been doing it? If you’re a new graduate, point to your college major. If not, leave it out. If you’re affiliated with industry organizations or have specialized certifications, mention it.
It is important to make yourself stand out from others. What makes you such a catch? Perhaps you volunteered at a school overseas teaching impoverished children. Or maybe, you have extensive knowledge in computer programing. Consider what special niche or unique knowledge you have that will set you apart from the rest.
As you close your elevator pitch, make sure to ask an open-ended question that allows the listener to answer. This can help engage the person in a longer conversation. For example: "If you have some time, I would love to meet with you to hear more about your organization and any opportunities." Be sure to ask for a business card to keep in contact with them.
This is the most important step. Practice aloud and time yourself. Practice with friends and get feedback. Remove any unnecessary information. Remember, you don’t have to share every skill or accomplishment, just enough to pique interest and land a follow-up meeting.
Be enthusiastic. People can tell if you are genuine. You should sound natural, not rehearsed. It should be memorized so you can use it any time. Practice in front of a mirror to perfect your delivery. Good eye contact and nonverbals will engage your listener.