First impressions stick. It’s obviously an overused cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason. People remember how you make them feel the first time you meet them. Did you make them feel uncomfortable? Were you sending off unfriendly nonverbal communication cues? They may not be inclined to speak to you again, and that’s why nailing your first impression is so important. But it’s hard. Really hard. Thankfully, there are ways to make it less difficult. If you nail down an impressive elevator pitch about yourself, you’re essentially setting yourself up for a lifetime of amazing first impressions.
How do you nail the perfect elevator pitch? Start with sincerity.
“Being genuine, that is key right now in the job hunting game,” said Matthew Warzel, President of MJW Careers. “I am finding more and more of that will win you over more than any fluff.”
This is your guide to creating your perfect elevator pitch, with 30 second elevator pitch examples, a 90 second elevator pitch example, and a written elevator pitch example for emails.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a clear, concise introduction of yourself.
“Essentially, you want to have something to say when people ask just what the heck you do, what you want, or what you can offer,” Warzel said. “Know your expertise and how you can bring value to the audience member you’re engaging with.”
The name “elevator pitch” comes from being able to introduce, or pitch, yourself in the span of an elevator ride. Your actual pitch can run anywhere from 15 to 90 seconds.
“Anything longer might start to wear thin on someone who doesn’t know you,” Warzel said.
Like anything, the length of your elevator pitch will vary based on the situation and how much time someone is wiling to give you to speak about yourself. But generally, you want to be mindful of the time and be concise with what you say.
At a career fair, you don’t want to deliver a five minute speech about your entire life as the hiring manager peaks behind you to see how much their line has built up.
The components of an elevator pitch
There is no set formula for an elevator pitch example, but there are certain components that you should consider using in your elevator pitch.
Warzel reminds professionals that your elevator pitch should change as you do. As your achievements, job titles, aspirations, and goals evolve, as should your elevator pitch.
“Let it be a living, breathing thing. Just like your resume and just like your career,” Warzel said. “Evolve, get better, improve your skills, let people know about these great new things.”
1. Greeting. You want the conversation to be friendly and pleasant, so start with a greeting and exchange names with the person or people.
2. Industry, field, job title, or company. Let the person in on what you do, it’s important they have some background before you dive into your goals.
3. Accomplishments, background qualifications, and skills. This sentence will resemble your resume. You can brag a little here, cluing them in on what your greatest strength is, and letting them know why they may want to keep speaking with you.
4. What you want to do and why. “You want to be as niche, focused, and value-driven when talking to the hiring manager,” Warzel said. “They want someone coming right in, helping, and making an impact –and they want to be done with the hiring process because it’s tedious and expensive.”
People are impressed by those who know exactly what they want to do, and it will excite them if your goals align with their own.
5. Why you enjoy what you do. Adding an element of passion and enthusiasm is never a bad idea.
6. What interests you about the listener’s company or business. Expressing interest in the other person is a baseline quality of a good conversation. It will keep the listener engaged and clue them in to how you two are connected or can be connected.
7. What sets you apart from others. Youneed to make yourself stand out. So let that other person know what skills, traits, or projects set you apart from everyone else.
8. Tagline or mission statement. Including a quick phrase at the end of your elevator pitch can help solidify this first impression in the other person’s head. An elevator pitch is basically a sales pitch for yourself, so get creative with it.
“If you can figure out a nice little tag or something for them to remember you by to close it out, I think it makes for a better elevator pitch,” Warzel said.
Here are some tagline elevator pitch examples:
- For a nurse: “With my passion for compassion, I think I’m the best nursing fit for helping improve your patient’s outlook and livelihood.”
- For an accountant: “I’m recognized by leadership as the financial wrangler and detangler in my accounting department.”
- For a product specialist: “I help transform the customer’s journey so we drive customer advocacy and ensure all product touch points are more personalized.”
Tips for creating an elevator pitch
When crafting your elevator pitch, keep in mind that a crucial element is what you can offer to the person on the other end of it, which means that what you say will most likely vary every time you deliver it. Generally, your pitch wants to blend your experience and desires with their pain points and how you can alleviate them.
“If you could find that blend, that’s a great elevator pitch, because now it’s not all about you, it’s about them, too,” Warzel said.
Warzel recommends writing down your pitch so that you can workshop and practice it.
Warzel, who is a previous improv teacher and someone who is used to shooting form the hip, says that you don’t want to leave it up to yourself to craft an incredible elevator pitch on the spot the moment you need it. You wan’t to be prepared. If you leave it up to improvisation, you might not be too happy with the results.
“You don’t want to do that because then you’re just going to stumble around, especially when nerves kick in,” Warzel said. “So know what the heck you’re doing in your world, your life, and your role, and whether it fits into that industry and the pain points of this specific company.”
If you plan on winging it, without doing any research or preparation, you will probably never get a call from that individual or company.
Elevator pitch examples
30 second elevator pitch (Example 1)
30 second elevator pitch (Example 2)
90 second elevator pitch
Hi, I’m Rashanna. I’m currently working as Human Resources Manager with a wide breadth of experience on the technical side as well, including an ability to lead cross-departmental teams in both operations and information technology. My supervisors frequently commend me for being able to weigh and consider multiple perspectives and negotiate conflicting perspectives. I’m looking for suggestions and advice on how I can further cultivate my expertise in this field because my ultimate aim is to help organizations with advancing organizational goals as a telecommuter, recognized thought leader, and pivotal business partner with occasional travel availability to drive ROI.
I am also an effective communicator with a knack for persuasive storytelling to help facilitate program or project completion, while gaining stakeholder buy-in. Considering my colleagues often complimented me for my thoughtful and engaging presentations, I’m looking to help bridge communications between non-technical and technical teams to ensure optimal transparency and efficiency.
My core skill sets are the Kronos Workforce Management platform, the Kronos Payroll (domestic and international) program implementation, and the Kronos Benefits Administration. With minimal senior management/sales team product/capability awareness, I implemented an entirely new onboarding structure, including adopting new Kronos software in less than two months. I did this by creating a training system for our entire Human Resources team and allocating boot camps to educate the management on the new system.
My goal is to lead teams effectively and monitor performance to help drive productivity, which leads to profitability and steady growth plans.
How to write an elevator pitch for an email
An elevator pitch over email, or an enote, is essentially a condensed version of your cover letter. While still extremely targeted, your email elevator pitch won’t be as specific as a great cover letter would be.
An important part of the email elevator pitch is explaining how you got the person’s email address and why you are contacting them. If you don’t know how to introduce yourself in an email, keep in mind you don’t need to write a long saga, but a brief explanation will put your email into context and give you a leg up if you received their contact information from someone that they know personally.
“We’re in the Twitter age, so be pragmatic, concise and to the point,” Warzel said. “Hiring managers appreciate that, as a candidate, you know that their time is not only valuable, it’s worth something. So this enote needs that ‘Oh, wow, I’ll open up this document,’ because otherwise it’s just another random person and they’re not going to open it.”
Another important aspect of the email elevator pitch is addressing a pain point that the person may have. If you’re going to be able to make their life easier, they’re going to want to read the rest of your email, your resume, and your cover letter. In order to do that, make sure you do your research and know the industry.
“The good thing is, you’re the one initiating the conversation, so you have time to think and you have time to figure out why they have that job opening,” Warzel said.
Elevator pitch template for email
Elevator pitch example for a college student
An elevator pitch for a college student or recent graduate may sound a little different than one for a professional with 10 years of experience under his or her belt. Generally, the components of the elevator pitch are the same, but the way you frame them might vary.
Honing your elevator pitch as a college student is extremely important because there are so many opportunities that you will need to use it: the endless networking events, career fairs, and informational interviews. When you’re on the hunt for a job or internship, people will want to hear about what you have done so far, and what you want to do next.
Here are the components of an elevator pitch for a college student or recent graduate:
- Introduction. Introduce yourself, and then let them know what school you go to, when you are graduating or did graduate, and what you are studying or studied.
- Further background. Here’s your time to discuss your past internships, club experience, or relevant coursework.
- Accomplishments. After you talk about those internships, tell them how you made an impact as an intern. Tell them if you’ve won any awards or scholarships, had an amazing Capstone project, or were the Teacher Assistant with the highest ranking at the end of the semester. The more relatable your accomplishments are to the person’s industry or company, the better.
- Your goals. Now that you’ve told them what you’ve done, it’s important to follow-up with what you want to do after you move on from college. What hiring managers don’t want is someone who doesn’t know what they want to do, or only has a vague idea of how they want their future to look.
- Why they should care. Here is where you express your value, and let the person know why it would be good for them to hire you or stay connected with you.
- Show your value. Convince them that they should care, and then, as specifically as possible, tell them how you’ll be able to add value to their organization.
“You don’t want to be saying ‘I’m a clueless early career person. Help me!’ They don’t want to help. They don’t know you. They’re busy helping their nephew who just graduated,” Warzel said.
- Take action. College students and recent graduates always need to be building their network, so make sure you take action at the end of your pitch. You can ask for their business card, or even ask for an interview.
Jennifer Fabiano is an SEO reporter at Ladders.