The ability to present important details about yourself in a short amount of time can help you stand out in a fast-paced professional world. When meeting potential employers, clients or vendors, a well-crafted elevator pitch can help new contacts remember you, which may be a deciding factor in getting a job or contract. In this article, we’ll discuss what an elevator pitch is and when you might use one, then give some examples to help craft your own elevator pitch.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief and detail-rich description of your professional background, qualifications and objectives. Elevator pitches, sometimes called elevator statements or elevator speeches, should be between 20-30 seconds long—the time it takes to ride an elevator—and only give information that will help develop your professional relationship with your listener.
A strong elevator statement should leave a lasting impression in your recipient’s mind so they’re more likely to contact you if they are hiring for a position or need professional services.
How to write an elevator pitch
Your elevator statement should contain these elements:
1. First, include your name.
While you should state your name in any introduction, it’s especially important in an elevator pitch. If you just met your listener and might not see them regularly, they’ll need to know how to ask about you later.
2. Second, state your background information.
Since you want an elevator statement to help you gain employment or business, your recipient should know why you’re qualified for their interest. If discussing a job, stating that you have education in your desired field will show that you understand the work required of your specialty. When pitching services as a vendor, showing you have established success could make your contact more confident in contracting your company.
3. Next, share your relevant skills and training.
In addition to formal schooling, make sure you mention other certifications or professional abilities. For instance, if you’re making an elevator speech for a job as a healthcare administrator, make sure to mention if you have a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional certificate.
4. Fourth, relay how you intend to continue communication.
In addition to stating who you are and how you’re qualified, you’ll want to let your listener know what you hope to gain from the meeting. If you want your contact to hire your business as a vendor, state outright that you want to offer your services. If you desire employment, ask if you can set up a meeting to discuss job openings.
5. Lastly, give out your business card.
At planned networking events, it will benefit you to have a business card that you can trade with contacts. It’s also appropriate to give out your card in other situations when you use an elevator pitch. Giving your potential employer or service provider a physical reminder of yourself can make you stand out from others they meet.
When to use an elevator pitch
Here are several occasions when you might use an elevator pitch:
When meeting a potential employer:
Whether you’re at a job fair or out to lunch with a friend who introduces you to their boss, meeting a prospective employer is a brief opportunity to make yourself known as a job candidate. In these situations, you’ll want to go over a large amount of information in a short time.
‘My name is Jeremy Choi, and I recently graduated with a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of California at Berkeley. I am dedicated to finding innovative and sustainable solutions to environmental and economic issues in highly populated cities. Last month, I completed an internship with the City of Oakland Department of Public Works and am looking for a similar full-time position here in Chicago. I would love to speak with you about potential job openings. Could we schedule a time to speak in your office?’
When pitching services to a potential client:
Whether you’re an owner or employee of a company, being proactive in gaining business can be crucial for success. Having an effective elevator speech could be the deciding factor in getting contracted as a vendor.
‘Pleased to meet you. I’mAri Fisher, and I understand your company is constructing new offices in town. My company, Fisher Electrical Solutions, has been providing quality installations in town for the last 15 years. We guarantee all our services for the lifespan of your building, and I’m confident that my team can meet and exceed your expectations. When do you plan on starting construction? I’d love to visit you on-site to discuss your needs.’
At a networking event:
Many industries or local organizations hold official meetings where you can introduce yourself to an array of other professionals in a short time. Having a brief and compelling elevator speech can help ensure you meet a large number of contacts while you have the opportunity.
‘I’m excited to be here at the Marketing Professionals Association meeting. My name is Geraldine Herrera, and I want to tell you about Marketech Research, Inc. In our 23 years in business, we’ve become a national leader in market research. Our large call center can handle up to 2,000 outbound calls per day, assessing a range of consumer interests. Here is my card. Please call me at your earliest convenience.’
In an interview after the prompt, ‘Tell me about yourself.’
Providing a short introduction of yourself as a prospective employee is one of the most common instances when you’ll use an elevator statement. Giving a clear, concise answer could be key in advancing through the hiring process.
‘I’m Reggie Bates, a graduate of the University of South Florida with a Master of Science degree in elementary education. I hold a certification to teach in Florida and have spent the last summer volunteering in a program for at-risk youth in the Tampa area. I have a strong desire to teach in the public school system and am confident that my training, experience and dedication to children will aid me well as a guidance counselor at your school.’