An elevator pitch is a short summary that provides a concise overview of who you are, your unique qualities and the value you can provide to a role or organization. Think of your elevator pitch as a short, pre-scripted speech in which you “sell” yourself to others.
You might be wondering “Why is it called an elevator pitch?” Think of it this way – imagine you work in a tall office building and happen to get into the elevator on the first floor with the CEO. You have her attention the moment the doors close until they open again on the CEO’s floor and she gets out. This is a valuable opportunity that may only come once in a lifetime! What are the things you want to communicate about yourself or your unique ideas in that time? That would be your elevator pitch. (And if it’s a good one, perhaps the CEO will invite you off the elevator to continue the conversation in her office!)
Any elevator pitch, regardless of position or industry should answer four key questions:
Example: My name is Jane Doe and I have 10 years’ experience working as a project manager, the most recent five years at XYZ Company. I have a knack for organization and utilizing innovative technology, resulting in significant financial savings. I recently graduated from Brandman University with an MBA and am now looking to expand my scope of influence and take on more strategic type roles.
Be prepared with “Part 2” of your pitch if you are asked probing questions following your pitch. Using the above example, Jane should be prepared to provide examples of innovative technology she has leveraged as well as more details around what kind of strategic roles she is pursuing and what specific skills she has that make her qualified.
Write your pitch down and memorize it. Practice it in front of a mirror and in front of other people. Repeat it over and over until it rolls naturally off your tongue and sounds like you are saying it in an impromptu manner.
Of course, you can use your elevator pitch in an elevator, but you can also use it in many situations you will encounter over the course of your career. The key is to be prepared to share it with someone at any time that opportunity may strike. Here are a few examples of opportunities you can use your new elevator pitch: