How to Create the Perfect Elevator Pitch - Plus Examples [Video + Transcript]

By Jennifer Herrity, Host

December 1, 2021

11-minute watch

Hi everybody, and welcome. My name is Jenn, and I'm a career coach at Indeed with over 10 years of experience helping people advance in their careers. Today, I'm going to share some advice on one of my favorite topics—how to create an effective personal elevator pitch. This video is going to give you the knowledge that you need to “pitch yourself”. That is to tell a compelling story about who you are, and where you're going in under two minutes.

This type of elevator pitch is perfect for introducing yourself at a networking event or even in an interview. Also, please stick around until the end for three key best practices for delivering an elevator pitch. You don't want to miss this.

What is an elevator pitch?

So, a personal elevator pitch is a concise story about your professional past and your ambitions. It should explain where you've been and where you're going. Generally 90 seconds or less, an elevator pitch markets you as a confident and intentional business partner or potential hire.

During the early stages of an interview process or even a networking event, elevator pitches can be particularly helpful because employers may be looking at a high volume of potential candidates or meeting a lot of people. Speaking convincingly about what you bring to the table can help immediately signal your professional value.

Now, before we move on, if you find this content helpful, let us know by giving us a “like.” And if you'd like to see more videos like this, please be sure to subscribe to our channel.

How to structure your elevator pitch

A good elevator pitch gives a summary of who you are, your professional background, and what you want in your next job. A well-crafted elevator pitch can employ a similar framework that I would recommend to answer the question, “Tell me about yourself.” We provide more information on that topic in a video that you can find right here:

So, like any good story, you want to start by building out an outline. To tell the story about your professional journey, consider these four components—who you are, how you got here, where you're going and include a call to action.

Now, I'm going to give you an example of each component, and then put it together to create a full elevator pitch example at the end.

Who are you?

The first component of an elevator pitch is the introduction. I recommend beginning your pitch by stating who you are, and what you're doing presently. If you're at a networking event, start your pitch by giving a smile and a handshake. And say something like, “Hi, I'm Jenn, a career coach at Indeed. It's so nice to meet you.”

If you're a college student, you can include your major and your anticipating graduation day. For example, you can say, ”Hi, I'm Carmen, a sophomore marketing major in the school of business.”

Focus on where you are in your career right now or most recently as it relates to the role that you're interviewing for or the one that you're interested in learning more about.

If you're in an interview, it's not necessary to state your name at the beginning of your answer. Unless you've been asked about its pronunciation. Starting your response by saying my name is, can sound stiff and rehearsed in that setting. So you want to try to avoid that. Once you've introduced yourself, provide a high-level view of what you've been doing recently by sharing your responsibilities, professional interests and any relevant projects you worked on.

The goal is to try to make a connection between what you have been doing and what you're interested in. If you're transitioning into a new role or industry, this is a great time to mention any certifications you've completed, classes you've taken, or personal projects that you've worked on. So in this case, consider sharing your most relevant experience before mentioning your most recent role if it's entirely relevant.

You want to highlight the transferable skills you've acquired that apply specifically to the role. So in an interview, take the opportunity to highlight a key accomplishment in this section, and use the preferred experience or the skills that are highlighted in the job description to determine which accomplishments you talk about.

Here's a sample statement for a networking event: ”Hi, I'm Sharon. It's so nice to meet you. I'm an email marketing associate at Company C, and I'm interested in learning new ways to engage with my audience. Over the last six months, I've created user-centric campaigns that keep our customers engaged and coming back to our website.”

Now, that you've shared who you are, it's time to move on to the next component. What led you here?

How did you get here?

Now, this can include giving a brief summary of any relevant previous roles, projects or education. If you're a current student or recent graduate, include your motivation for entering this field or attending this event.

If you're in an interview, refrain from just reciting a timeline of the events that led you to where you are. To make the most impact, focus on your professional ambitions instead. For example, if you're a nurse, talk about what motivated you to work in direct patient care.

If you've changed careers along the way, or if you're trying to change careers now, speak to what motivated you to make that shift, and tie a thread to this new career path. For recent graduates, you may consider talking about which classes motivated you to explore this particular career. This is really where employers like to hear a story about how and why you got to where you are right now.

Here's a sample past statement: ”When I was younger, I had a close family member who was seriously ill, and her nurses were instrumental in her treatment and recovery. When I visited her in the hospital, I saw firsthand that nurses provided more than medical care. They provided companionship and support as well. Since then, I've always wanted to provide that same level of care and support to other families in need.”

Where are you going?

After sharing your motivations, it's time to focus on the future. What are you looking for next? When discussing where you want to go in your career, start with the why. Try to answer questions like:

  • Why do you want this role?

  • Why are you at this event?

  • Why are you interested in this industry or company?

If you're at a networking event, your goal could be to learn more about the industry or make more professional connections. If you're in an interview, this is where you would want to talk about how your goals align with those of the company. This is a good opportunity to explain the value that you bring, why you're a good fit for the role, or generally what your audience has to gain from your interaction. This is where you share what you have to offer in your elevator pitch.

Here's an example of a future-focused statement: ”Right now, I'm seeking more leadership opportunities. After managing several successful projects in my current role, I discovered a passion for leadership and mentorship. I'm looking for an opportunity that allows me to use my industry knowledge and also challenges me to develop new leadership skills. After reading your job description, it sounds like this could be a good fit.”

End with a call to action

So you've just spent the last 30 to 60 seconds taking the listener on your professional journey—now what? A critical component of an elevator pitch is the call to action. Finish strong by asking for or stating what you want to happen next. In general, it's beneficial to keep the conversation going.

If you're at a networking event, this can include asking questions like:

  • Now, can you tell me a little bit more about yourself?

  • So, what brought you to this event?

  • Are you open to scheduling a follow-up meeting to discuss this further?

If you're in an interview try:

  • Can you tell me more about the company?

  • Why did you choose to pursue your current role here?

  • What qualities are needed to be successful in this role?

At a networking event, if the person agrees to your request, thank them for their time, get their contact information and, when appropriate, provide a copy of your resume. End the conversation with a concise and action-oriented farewell like, “Thank you for your time, I'll send you a follow-up email tonight, it was a pleasure to meet you.”

And if they don't agree to your request, politely end the conversation by saying, “I understand, and thank you for your time.”

Elevator pitch best practices

Now, that you know how to structure your elevator pitch, here are three key best practices to keep in mind as you start to practice.

1. Keep it concise

Depending on the situation, you may only have a short amount of time to give your pitch. The general concept is that you should be able to tell your story in a short elevator ride. 30 to 60 seconds is the ideal length, but 90 seconds is the longest I recommend.

While you may not find yourself giving this pitch in an actual elevator, you will often find that you only have a short amount of time to introduce yourself at a networking event. If you're in an interview, you'll generally have more time with someone. So, you can expect to tell your story in about two minutes. It's beneficial to have a few versions of your elevator pitch that you can use depending on the amount of time the situation allows.

2. Keep it relevant

It's a good idea to have one general pitch that you can use at any moment. But it's also wise to tailor your pitch whenever you can. When you recall experiences, projects and passions that interest you, make sure that they're relevant to the situation. If you're in an interview, it's smart to focus on highlighting the past roles, projects and education that's directly related to the role that you're specifically interviewing for.

At a networking event, you might choose to focus on shared interests related to the field in general. So, for example, at a networking event for an industry you're interested in transitioning into, mention that you're looking to learn how others have made similar career switches. Or for example, if you're approaching a start-up company at a career fair, include in your pitch why you're especially excited about working at a start-up.

3. Keep it natural

When Introducing yourself to people for the first time, you want to sound authentic, conversational and natural. And being concise doesn't mean that you should try to talk quickly. Instead, craft a clear, simple message, and deliver it with a slower speech so the listener doesn't miss important details.

Aim to use plain language to ensure all audiences can understand. Using technical jargon and industry-specific terms might alienate a recruiter or anyone else who doesn't have the same subject matter expertise as you.

Example elevator pitch

So let's bring this all together. I'd like to share my personal elevator pitch with you. And I think that you'll notice that it might sound a little familiar.

”Hi, I'm Jenn, and I'm a career coach at Indeed. For the past 10 years, I've worked on a variety of career services roles including talent acquisition, career coaching and even team leadership. Through this experience, I've learned that the job search can feel isolating, and no one should ever have to feel like they're in it alone. I'm interested in opportunities to create career development resources and provide guidance to the people who need it. What brings you here today?”

If you'd like more tips on how to deliver an elevator pitch, be sure to check out this career guide article. All right, let's recap what we've learned. My top tips for crafting a compelling elevator pitch are—create your present statement, create your past statement, create a future statement, keep it concise, keep it relevant and keep it natural.

For more tips on how to create the perfect elevator pitch, be sure to check out this Career Guide article.

So, there you have it. Thank you so much for watching. I hope that you really do find this information to be helpful and that you're able to apply it to craft your perfect elevator pitch.

If you'd like to see more videos like this, please “like” and subscribe, and hit the notification bell down below to stay updated.

Thank you so much for watching. See you next time.

Related Articles

5 Tips To Stay Focused Working From Home