How to write an Elevator Pitch?

We all need to be able to answer those dreaded questions where you’re forced to talk about yourself. “So tell me about yourself? What do you do? Who are you?

When you’re job searching and networking it is important to get that pitch right, as often, you will only get one chance to impress your audience whether it be a phone interview, job interview, networking at events, or even bumping into someone who could introduce you to that hiring manager responsible for that dream job.

There are three true rules to consider when writing your elevator pitch:

(1) It should be 30 seconds or less

(2) Your skill (or how you benefit a potential employer) should be clear

(3) There should be a goal

Here are four key pieces that you can customise and personalise to fit all your networking and new job searching needs.

One - What do you do?

This is the foundation of any elevator pitch. There is no need to talk about a specific job, however you need to identify and articulate what you can deliver.

  • Your professional accomplishments (awards, recognitions, certifications, etc)

  • What’s the common thread in all your jobs? Take a look at your transferable skills and identify the one or two where you really excel.

  • Focus on your essential skill set, what ability have you continued to strengthen in every role?

  • Still in school? Use your major and assess your other interests. What clubs are you in? Who do you admire? What’s your favourite subject?

Have a clear skill set but looking for new ways to talk about it? These are effective:

  • Adept at..

  • Proficient in..

  • Accomplished..

  • Dexterity..

  • Expertise in..

  • Savvy..

Two - What is your greatest strength?

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your skills? If you say that your skill set is communication, no one is going to doubt you, however if you say that your skill set is communications and you have a “knack/flair/talent for persuasive storytelling” then an employer has a clearer understanding of your value. Your concise and clear understanding of your abilities will not only lead others to believe in your abilities but also help employers more readily identify how you fit into the bigger picture of your department, field, or industry.

If you don’t know what your strength in a particular area is, try thinking about some of the feedback you’ve received.

Ashley Stahl, a well-known career coach, advises to use testimonials.

  • Where are you most assured?

  • The opportunity to do…… is what really drew you to your current role (look at the job description and choose an area that interests you and ask yourself why.)

  • Interpersonal – perhaps you are an amazing team player because you have a knack for seeing both sides of an argument.

Try using some of these:

  • Have a knack for…

  • Have a flair for…

  • Quite savvy with…

  • Talented at…

  • Known for…

  • Effective…

  • Penchant for…

Three - What is your goal?

What would you like to do? People need to know how to help you. Do you want a new job? Do you want to learn a new skill set? Do you want advice on how to network in their field?

If you’re lacking confidence and are afraid to ask, remember people are always looking for people like you. Your elevator pitch positions you as a solution, and hiring managers are always looking for good candidates like yourself to solve their problems.

Try some of these:

  • I’d like to gain exposure or credibility in the industry

  • I’m hoping to find a role in..

  • Do you have any suggestions as to how I can..

  • I’m looking for opportunities for me to develop..

  • I’m looking to write for…

  • Can you provide me with some insight on how I can apply..

Four - What’s your motivation?

It is important to find out “why” in everything you do or want. This is what keeps us inspired and motivates us to take action. What emotion is driving you? Your emotions support your decision-making abilities. Use this knowledge to demonstrate that your reasons for your goals aren’t just about the money. Focus on intrinsic motivators:

  • Who do I want to help or inspire?

  • Who benefits from my work?

  • Why do I enjoy the work I am doing?

Start a sentence with:

  • I owe it to…

  • I’m inspired by…

  • I want to inspire…

  • I believe…

  • Because..

Here are some elevator pitch examples:

"I’m currently studying education at RMIT University. One of my greatest strengths is my ability to make the conceptual practical and I’m interested in securing an entry-level role at a non-profit that allows me to teach and develop curriculum. Because non-profit programs and fellowships were a key part of my development and it’s important for me to pay it forward and help student develop to their highest potential."

"I’m currently working as Human Resources Manager at Forbes. My supervisors frequently commend me for being able to weigh and consider multiple perspectives and negotiate conflicting perspectives. I’m looking for suggestions on how I can further cultivate my expertise in this field because my ultimate aim is to help organisations develop more ethical and inclusive workplace cultures."

"I’m a communications professional with a knack for persuasive storytelling. Considering my colleagues often complemented me for my thoughtful and engaging presentations, I’m looking for insight as to how I can best position myself for a role in production or videography at social impact start-up. Because I’m inspired by documentaries, I want to help companies express their missions in compelling and relatable ways in the age of social media."

"My core skills sets are civil engineering and psychology. I’m endlessly curious and all my fiends, family, and colleagues look to me for answers on everything from mood swings to mindcraft. As I’ve always been exceptionally passionate about social issues, I’m looking to write for publications/websites focused on climate change so that I can create content and campaigns urging others to take action and increase sustainability for future generations."

When you have crafted your impactful and authentic elevator pitch make sure you practice, practice, practice. Practice in front of your friends, family and even people in a social setting who you haven’t met before.

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