by Mansi Gandhi

At The Job Forum, we know everybody dreads the idea of giving an elevator speech.

60 seconds. AND as a job hunter, you’re supposed to wow others with a mini-pitch all about you? The thing is, it doesn’t have to be so challenging. With just a little bit of preparation, you can craft an elevator pitch that you’ll want to shout to the world—and recently our Job Forum volunteers who are managers inside Bay Area companies gave a Job Forum workshop that was designed to show you how you can craft an amazing elevator pitch. Here are some key take-away.

Before getting into the specifics of an ideal elevator pitch example, it’s helpful to understand exactly what an elevator pitch is and what it’s used for. An elevator pitch is a compelling summary of who you are, your background, your value, and what you want to achieve/offer/contribute.

The elevator pitch can be a good framework to plan your answer to the popular interview question “tell me about yourself”. Of course with any job search, there is plenty to consider, but at The Job Forum, we believe in making it straightforward. So try just following these steps as a place to start.

What to include while drafting your elevator pitch

Within these 60 seconds, you do need to pack some specific information:

  • Identity – who you are
  • Background – what you do
  • Target – what you want
  • Difference – what makes you different
  • CTA – the call to action

1.Who you are – Summarize your professional standing

Elevator pitch isn’t your whole life story, and it isn’t even the highlights. Instead, it’s the 1-3 things you want to emphasize about yourself and your career ambitions.

2.What you do – Talk about what you have done in your field 

As much as possible, cater your elevator pitch examples to the role you are seeking. Mention your accomplishment tailored to the specific role for which you are applying.

3.What you want – Show your enthusiasm for the field or role

What are YOU interested in? What kind of work do you want? Before you can write an elevator pitch that will help you reach your goals, you need to know what those goals are. Once you know what you want, it’s easier to portray yourself in a way that will make sense and advance your chances. For example, if you want to be a data-driven marketer, you can use your elevator pitch example to talk about your marketing background and how excited you are about data before you mention the 5 years you spent as a banker. Focus your listener on how you are appropriate for the new role you want.

4.What makes you different

This is also an important opportunity to explain the value you’ll bring, why you’re a good fit for a job, or generally what your audience has to gain from interaction with you. Find something to say that will make you stand out. Focus on what you have to offer during this section of your speech.

5.CTA (the call to action)

What to succinctly ask for depends on how you’re using the pitch. The “ask” of your pitch could be for a job opportunity, informational interview or simply to get contact information.

Be sure to always provide a professional action step:

End the conversation with a concise and action-oriented farewell, such as, “Thank you for your time, I’ll send you a follow-up email tonight. Have a great day!”.

If they don’t agree to your elevator pitch request, gracefully end the conversation with a positive warm understanding message:

I understand, thank you for your time! If it’s all right, I’ll send you a follow-up email and see if there might be a better time for us to connect.” In the meantime let me know if you might appreciate anything I can provide as input for you.”

Other tips to make elevator pitch more successful:

  • Slow it down
  • Watch your business vocabulary and remove jargon.
  • Do not rush through it or try to add too much detail at first – you want others to ask you a question and converse!
  • Practice so you are confident
  • Make it memorable for the listener
  • Turn it into a conversation

It’s important to understand what NOT to do. That includes:

  • NOT sounding sarcastic or silly
  • NOT boring or confusing people
  • NOT leaving people wondering exactly what is it you do
  • NOT underselling OR overselling your skills and experience

When to use your elevator pitch

Once you have your elevator pitch written and memorized to the point that it flows naturally, when should you say it? Which situations are prime for using your elevator pitch?

  • When friends or relatives ask you what you do.
  • At conferences when you are networking.
  • In your email signature.
  • As your live video intro.
  • Anytime someone wants to know what you do.

Your elevator pitch is a tool that can educate others, create new relationships, and open opportunities with potential employers.

Commit your elevator pitch to memory and use it often. Notice responses and adapt to these as you go along.

Come to The Job Forum for more advice and skill-building workshops on Wednesday or Thursday evenings. The Wednesday evening Job Forum panel addresses your unique job hunting questions and provides personalized advice to job hunters. We hope to see you there! Sign up for The Job Forum virtual events at 6 pm PST on Eventbrite.