By: Kristy Wu
When it comes to networking events and interviews, cultivating your elevator pitch is critical in making good impressions to professionals. Why? Because your elevator pitch is one way in demonstrating your communication and interpersonal skills. No matter what profession, employers look for excellent communicators that put a face to the person’s resume or cover letter. But what exactly is an elevator pitch? An elevator pitch is a “succinct and persuasive sales pitch” that is usually 60 seconds long. There are different types of elevator pitches: business, personal/casual, and professional.
Here are a few tips on how to cultivate an effective professional, interview-setting elevator pitch as a student:
- Start Off with Your Academic Background
- Say your name, grade level, school, and major/minor. Don’t make this part more than ~10 seconds — it should be short and sweet!
- List Three Characteristics About Yourself (i.e. hard-working, creative, team-player)
- Tie these three characteristics/skills into your past experiences. Your example could be through school, a club, or your past job. This should be around 2-3 sentences. No matter what the experience is, make sure you tell a story! Here is a list of skills you can mention.
- PRO TIP: paint a picture of yourself with a theme from these skills. For example, one theme could be that you’re a constant learner and love absorbing information around you!
- Expand How You Bring Value to the Company
- This portion is a nice transition from your characteristics, because you can connect it to a company/role specifically. A big part of an elevator pitch is seeing if you’re a right fit for the company and what you can offer. Do some research ahead of time to see the professional/company’s values and position responsibilities. BE SPECIFIC!
- OPTIONAL: End Your Pitch with A Question/What You Want to Happen Next
- This could be a question to schedule a meeting over coffee, or a general query question for the professional.
Here’s an example skeleton below:
“Hi! My Name is [your first and last name], I’m a [freshman, sophomore, etc.] at [college name], and my major/minor is [your major/minor]. I’d like to say I’m [three characteristics about yourself], and I’ve demonstrated this through [2-3 sentences about your experiences in school, clubs, and work]. I think these skills are applicable to [company name/role] because [then provide 1-2 sentences how it specifically applies to the company/role]. [Insert optional question here too]”
Remember to practice, practice, practice this. Make your elevator pitch natural, yet concise/informative. Tell a story to make yourself memorable. If you’re using your elevator pitch for an interview, check out Macaulay’s Interview Tips.
Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email Jamie.Ruden@mhc.cuny.edu.