Properly introducing yourself allows you to begin a professional conversation, whether at a networking event, with a colleague or at the beginning of an interview. One tool many people use to make introductions simple and effective is the elevator pitch. In this article, we share several elevator pitch examples along with tips to help create, craft and deliver your personal message.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a quick summary of yourself. It's named after the time it takes to ride an elevator from the bottom to the top of a building— roughly 30 seconds or 75 words. Elevator pitches are sometimes thought to be specific to an idea or a product, but having a pitch to sell yourself as a professional is also a common use.
Why is an elevator pitch important?
A well-crafted elevator pitch can serve as a great conversation starter. Whether interviewing via phone screen or in person, the interviewer will likely ask you to provide a summary of who you are, what your background is and what you want from your next job. Your elevator pitch can also be a helpful framework as you're planning your answer to common interview questions or considering what to include in a cover letter.
Another benefit of a personal elevator pitch is that it prepares you to introduce yourself when new opportunities present themselves in everyday life. It also quickly helps new contacts understand why they should connect with you or consider you when an employment opportunity arises. One of the biggest advantages of using an elevator pitch when speaking about your career is that you can take the initiative. Instead of waiting on the other party to direct the conversation, you can confidently explain what you have to offer.
How to write an elevator pitch
Your elevator pitch should answer questions like who you are, what you do and what value you can bring to a prospective employer. Follow these steps to create a compelling elevator pitch.
- Start by introducing yourself
- Provide a summary of what you do
- Explain what you can do
- Finish with a call to action
1. Start by introducing yourself
As you approach someone to pitch to, whether at an event, interview or networking function, start off with an introduction. Give your full name, offer a strong handshake and ask the other person about themselves. This is a good way to make a positive first impression.
2. Provide a summary of what you do
Provide a brief explanation of your background. You should include the most relevant information such as your education, work experience and any of your key specialties or strengths. If you're not sure what to include, try writing everything that comes to mind on a piece of paper. After that, review what you've written and remove everything that's not absolutely critical to explaining your background. Instead, focus on why you have what they may be looking for.
Consider the most important items on your resume. Once you've got it down to just a few points, organize them in a way that makes sense in your story.
3. Explain what you can do
This step depends on what you're using the pitch for. The main talking point of your pitch could be a consideration for a job opportunity or an internship or simply to get contact information. This is a good opportunity to explain the value you bring, why you're a good fit for a job or what an audience has to gain from your interaction and what you have to offer.
4. Finish with a call to action
You should end your elevator pitch by asking for what you want to happen next. Examples include asking for a meeting, expressing interest in a job, confirming you've fully answered an interview question or asking someone to be your mentor.
When asking for what you want out of your career, it's important to give the conversation an action item that the other person can use to keep talking. If you've just met the other person, make a simple request that requires little on their part.
If they agree to your request, be sure to thank them for their time and get their contact information. End the conversation with a concise and action-oriented farewell. If they don't agree to your request, gracefully end the conversation on a polite note and ask if they're willing to consider reconnecting at another time.
Elevator pitch examples
Below are some additional elevator pitch examples from a variety of job titles that you can refer to when creating your own:
- Executive assistant
- Graphic designer
- Business analyst
- Media planner
“Hi. My name is Mark Brown. Thanks so much for sitting down with me today. After graduating with my bachelor's degree in business administration, I've spent the last three years building professional experience as an executive assistant. I've successfully managed end-to-end event coordination and have generated a strong professional network with my colleagues. I was excited to learn about this opportunity in the sports management space. I've always been passionate about the way sports bring cultures together and would love the opportunity to bring my project management and leadership abilities to this position.”
“I'm Arya Liu, and it's so nice to meet you. I'm a graphic designer at J.J. Mintz Inc., where I'm passionate about creating beautiful, intuitive designs for a variety of marketing materials for our top-tier clients. Before that, I got my master's degree in graphic design. I'm looking for experiences to learn more about career paths and ways to grow into assuming an art director role in the next few years. Your work with this brand has inspired the ways I think about design. I would love to talk more about a potential mentorship with you if that's something you have time for and would be interested in.”
“Hello! My name is Anwar Ibrahim, and it's a pleasure to meet you. I have a background in business analytics with more than 10 years of experience creating data-driven solutions for various business problems. It sounds like you do similar work. I would love to stay in contact to learn more about what you and your company do.”
“Hello, I'm Luis Hernandez. I've spent the last eight years learning and growing in my role as a media planner, where I've developed and optimized strategic media plans for our top client and managed a subset of planners as a team lead. One of my proudest achievements was a pro-bono project that was recognized as a top nonprofit campaign last year. I've been interested in moving to the nonprofit sector for quite a while, and I love what your company provides in education. Would you mind telling me about any media planning needs you may have on the team?”
Additional tips for an elevator pitch
After you've taken time to develop a pitch that's focused on your background and immediate goals, practice and refine it. Reading your elevator pitch out loud to yourself can reveal opportunities for better wording or extraneous information that might distract from your main points.
Here are a few tips on delivery as you practice:
- Take your time. An elevator pitch is a quick conversation by nature, but remember to speak clearly and carefully. Keeping your pitch to around 75 words should help you deliver optimal information in a concise way.
- Make it conversational. It's helpful to plan your elevator pitch ahead of time and practice, but make sure it sounds natural. A good way to keep the pitch conversational is to memorize a general outline or key points of your speech. Keep this structure in the back of your mind, and adapt your pitch for each person you give it to.
- Use only conversational terms. Rather than using acronyms, technical terms or industry-specific words and phrases, use language that everyone can easily understand. You will likely speak to people with a variety of career backgrounds, so try replacing technical terms with general, easy-to-understand language. Asking friends or family for feedback can be useful for this step.
- Express confidence. Some of the best elevator pitches work because they're delivered with confidence. Stand up straight while you talk, and smile when meeting someone and delivering your pitch. Use a strong speaking voice to show confidence in your experience and what you want in the future. If you're nervous, remember that the person you're talking to is likely interested in what you have to offer.