Developing your Elevator Pitch
As you search for a job, you will have a lot of opportunities to field awkward questions posed to you by potential employers, family connections, even friends: "What kind of job are you looking for?" "Tell me about yourself." "Why should I hire you?" "What skills do you have?" If you spend a little time developing and practicing a brief summary of yourself (short enough to be delivered during an elevator ride), you'll be ready!
I. Gather your material:
Determine why you want this job.
- Brainstorm your reasons for interest in this specific position.
- How can you prove your interest to an employer?
- How does this position fit into your goals?
Identify your unique skills.
- Brainstorm a list of your skills related to the job you are seeking (for help identifying them, refer to O*Net).
- Have you had work/volunteer/ or leadership experience that would help you to be effective in the field?
- What specific actions have you taken in past activities that demonstrate your strengths?
- Do your talents or personality suit you for it?
- What are your proven accomplishments, or "results"?
II. Figure out what counts:
Think like your future boss.
- What do you think are the problems or issues that people in this field encounter?
- What is his or her bottom line or primary mission?
Bridge your background with your future goal.
- How can you help your future boss to fill a gap or need in the position through your unique skills (above)?
- How can you help him or her to have fewer problems through your contribution?
III. Turn your brainstorming into an effective message:
Write a 2-4 sentence paragraph that includes:
- your name, your interest in the position (make sure it's genuine!),
- 3-4 key skills, prior experiences and/or traits that make you suited for it,
- a summary of your sense of the main goal/purpose and challenge of the job to be, and
- how your 3-4 points above enable you to contribute effectively to addressing them.
Check that your message is on target by using it in response to "Tell me about yourself" or "Why should I hire you?"
Try your spiel out on friends, family, Hanover alumni, former employers, mentors, people you bump into at gatherings, even people you meet on the elevator until you feel that it does a good job of introducing you quickly and effectively.
V. Bring your documents in line:
Be sure you résumé and cover letter support the points you make in your elevator pitch.
Sample Elevator Pitch:
"I am Sarah Jones, a junior history major at Hanover College, and am interested in finding an internship in a museum, working with the public and leading programs for children.
I have loved visiting museums since I was a child, and had memberships to both the Indianapolis Children's Museum and the Eiteljorg, where I volunteered last summer. That taught me that I would really enjoy a career in the museum field.
As a student ambassador at Hanover, I am experienced in leading tours and providing information to the public; I've been an active volunteer in my community through my sorority, and have experience providing educational programming to kids through the Eiteljorg and College Mentors for Kids."