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Your Elevator Pitch

Have you ever been in an elevator with someone you didn't know and struggled to find something to say to break the awkward silence? What if you could design a professional introduction of yourself that would last that 30-second elevator ride? That's the concept behind the 30-second elevator pitch - a quick introduction of yourself as a professional to someone you don't know.

During the early days of the "internet explosion" when web development companies needed venture capital, and finance firms were swamped with applications for money, the 30-second elevator pitch was born. Companies that won business were often those with a simple and quick business pitch. The best pitches were those that could explain a business proposition to occupants of an elevator during a single elevator ride.

A 30-second elevator pitch is as essential to a jobseeker as a business card is to a business person. You need to be able to communicate who you are, what you do, what you want to do, and how you can be a resource to a business in a short amount of time. By developing a 30-second elevator pitch, you will be able to communicate your professional background and goals in a quick and effective manner when you meet someone who might help you obtain employment. Here are four points to cover in your elevator pitch:

  1. Set the stage: you're looking for a job
    Examples of how you might do this include:
    I've decided I'd like to explore a different line of work...
    • I took a break to take care of some personal matters, and now I’m ready to get to work...
    • I recently moved to the area...
    • I recently finished a training program/school...
    • My company recently downsized...
    • I've been out of work for a while, but now I'm looking for employment opportunities...
  2. Your "no brag" disclaimer
    Share your experience, without taking all the credit for your skill set.
    Examples of how you might do this include:
    In my previous position...
    • I had to become really good at...
    • I was fortunate to have had opportunities to acquire several skills, including...
    • I had several remarkable supervisors who taught me the importance of...
    • I’ve faced several challenging experiences, so I have had to learn to...
  3. What you offer an employer
    Highlight several of your signature strengths that are relevant to the person you are talking to; refer to Identify Your Strengths for ideas, including:
    • Traits, like reliability, adaptability, or willingness to exercise initiative
    • Universal or transferable skills, including safe working habits, leadership abilities, or talent for problem-solving
    • Key occupations or technical skills
  4. Your job search goal
    Share what you’re trying to accomplish with your job search. Examples of how you might do this include:
    • I'm searching for an opportunity to utilize the skills and knowledge I've acquired.
    • I'd like to connect with a business that could benefit from the capabilities I offer.
    • I think I could make a significant contribution as a _____ (describe the specific occupation or job position you have in mind).
    • I'd like to learn more about ____ (describe a career field, industry, or a specific company that interests you).
    • I'm looking for a position with a local business where I can make a contribution using my _______ skills.

Know yourself

To convince someone to help you in your job search, he or she needs to know exactly what you have to offer. You need to define precisely what problems you can solve, and what benefits you bring to a prospective contact or employer.

Tips for developing your elevator pitch

  • Use crisp, clear language - don't ramble!
  • Describe the position you want.
  • Talk about your abilities and experience.
  • Use proper posture - don't slouch!
  • Make a good first impression!

Example of an effective 30-second elevator pitch

Hi, I’m Brenda Thomas, and I recently completed a vocational training program in business administration at Jamesdale Community College. In this program, I had several remarkable professors who taught me the importance of customer service as a means to realizing a business’s vision and mission. In particular, the coursework made me comfortable with project management and staff management, and I became proficient in the Microsoft Office suite. I’m searching for an opportunity to utilize the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired to help a local business provide high quality service to its customer base.