What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch or elevator speech is a concise and impactful description of who you are (or in some contexts the organization you work for or the product/service you are selling). It’s called an elevator pitch because you should be able to deliver it in no more than 20 seconds, roughly the duration of an elevator ride with someone you’ve just met.

Your elevator pitch serves as an introduction, telling the listener who you are and what you offer. In the context of job hunting, you would focus on who you are as a professional and what you have to offer to a potential employer. You can use your elevator pitch at networking events, in a job interview or when a friend introduces you to a new contact or potential employer. Often you’ll be responding to a question like,”Nice to meet you! What do you do?” or, “So,  your friend tells me you’re looking for a new job, what’s your background?”

How do I deliver an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch should be stated with confidence and authority without pausing, faltering or stumbling—this takes practice, practice, practice! Read it out loud, practice in front of a mirror, and become comfortable with your pitch. You want it to sound polished, but not robotic.

What should I include in my elevator pitch?

  1. Attention grabber
    Talk about your accomplishments or something unique; give them something to be excited about and something they will remember! For example: “With my last employer I was able to increase sales by 20%” or “This year I received an award for X.”
  2. Differentiate yourself
    Let them know why you are a remarkable candidate. What do you offer? What problems can you solve for them? What unique skills do you have? Focus on the benefits to the listener.
  3. Qualify yourself
    Let them know why they should work with you. You need them to feel confident in trusting you. Provide specific examples of accomplishments: how you have saved a past employer time or money, how you have improved a process, etc.

Tip: If you have limited work experience, focus on your strengths and transferable skills. The Workstyle & Performance Profile offered by The Headhunters can help you understand more about your behaviour in the workplace!

Continue the conversation

Your elevator pitch is the beginning of what will hopefully be a longer conversation! Your pitch needs to be enticing enough to interest the other person in speaking with you further. After that you can share more about yourself as the conversation unfolds.

Sample elevator pitches:

  • Hello, I’m [your name], I recently graduated from the University of [school name] with a major in environmental sustainability. Throughout my degree I volunteered with the Sustainability Club as a way to apply what I was learning in the classroom, and I led 12 new campus-wide initiatives during my 4 years with the club. I’m passionate about sustainable housing and am looking for an internship or entry-level position in this field.
  • Hi, I’m [your name], I’m a software developer with 6 years of experience using C++, .NET, HTML and Java. My current team focuses on customizing software for financial institutions across Canada. I recently wrapped up a project that has already led to a X% increase in revenue for the organization, and now I’m looking for my next challenge.
  • Hello, my name is [your name], I’m a digital marketing specialist and have been working in the agency world for the past 5 years. I’ve helped over [number] clients streamline their digital marketing strategies and achieve average revenue increases of X%. I’m looking to apply the skills and knowledge I’ve gained in a new role within a large education or healthcare organization.