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How to Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

Posted by: Megan Speet

An elevator pitch is a persuasive and concise description about who you are, what you are good at and why you would be a great candidate. You only have around 30 seconds to get the person who you are speaking to interested in you and keen to take the conversation further. A great elevator pitch can open up many opportunities, so knowing what to say and how to deliver it is incredibly important. Although it may seem daunting, with the right preparation and attitude anyone can nail the elevator pitch. 

To break it down, let’s put it into four easy to follow sections;
1. How to Plan
2. What to Say
3. What Not to Say
4. How to Execute

In order to compose the perfect elevator pitch, you need to know what important skills you have that would stand out to your audience. These can include accomplishments such as degrees, awards and recognitions, languages you speak or professional certifications.
Next, think of special interests you have that would that make you stand out. These don’t have to be career related, as it is always a great idea to include interests you have that are personal to you. For example, mentioning that you are an avid mountain climber stands out as it shows determination and resilience. Interests are important as they not only show you who are, but reveal traits that stand out to an employer. Any other unique parts of your personality are helpful to mention as well, as your audience is much more likely to remember who you are.
Next, you need to thing about how to present your pitch. Take out anything that isn’t relevant or critical to your pitch, and get it down to a few strong key points; you don’t want to tell your life story. Think of the elevator pitch as the trailer to the movie of YOU. You want your audience to be engaged and interested, so they want to find out more and see the film!
A strong opening for your elevator pitch should contain who you are and what you currently do. You should also include a degree or your highest level of education in this as well, if applicable. For example, “Hello my name is David Fuller. I am a customer service assistant at T.M Lewin with a degree in Sociology.”
A great way to follow this is by describing your hard skills i.e. academic, volunteer, internship and work experiences, and how they make you excel. Putting this together could sound something like this, “My 5 years of experience at T.M Lewin has made me extremely proficient in customer service and a fantastic team player.” Mention other important experiences that you feel are considered hard skills, but keep in mind that you only have 30 seconds to do so.
Next, mention you interests, hobbies and passions, as long as you can tie them into your pitch seamlessly. For example, “I completed an 8 mile trek in Nepal during harsh weather conditions. This took a lot of resilience and determination.” Keep in mind that the employer wants to know how their company can benefit from your skills and experience.
What to avoid in your elevator pitch
1. Sounding like a recorded message. People want to see your personality, so try not to sound scripted or rehearsed. Speak at a clear and conversational pace.
2. Confusing confidence with arrogance. The ability to carry yourself is an admirable trait in anyone, but being remembered as an arrogant snob is not the impression you want to give!
3. Sounding “sales-y”: “I facilitate meaningful interactions by leveraging enterprise empowerment.” You definitely don’t want to insult your audience by making them feel inferior because they can’t understand you clearly.
4. Underselling or overselling your experience.
The elevator pitch is only 30 seconds, but it can make or break you in a job interview. However, if you are relaxed, prepared and show a great deal of confidence and personality you can have anyone keen to see you again. Now, stand up straight, with your shoulders relaxed, and deliver with a smile on your face!

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