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Think about your last elevator ride. Now imagine you had the duration of the ride to tell someone all about yourself. Could you do it? You could if you had an elevator pitch ready to go. An elevator pitch is a short but meaningful summary of your academic and professional background. The goal? To be memorable!
As a high school or college student, your work experience may be limited, so do you need an elevator pitch? Yes! You can use an elevator pitch at a school career fair, networking events, and your professional online profiles (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or your blog) that might be seen by employers.
Since an elevator pitch should be around 30 seconds, it’s important that you include the most important and relevant information. Be sure to include these elements as you craft your pitch.
Introduction. If you’re meeting somebody new, state your name and your purpose for the interaction. Do you want an internship? A job? Or to simply learn more about the person’s career? Once you have that answer, create your introduction. For example, you could say, “Hello, my name is Alex Johnson. I’m a graphic designer and very interested in finding an internship in the graphic design field.” You’ve stated your name and your intent.
Summary. What are two or three things you really want the listener to know about you? Are they skills? Or are they related to your educational experience? Briefly explain a few things that are both impressive and relevant to the conversation. For example, Alex Johnson could say, “Last summer I got to intern at a major publishing house and help design book jacket covers in the art department. In fact, I assisted on a nonfiction book that was just released this month–chances are you’ve seen it. While I loved working in publishing, I am interested in applying my design talents in a different field.”
Ask. What is your ultimate goal? What do you hope to walk away from the conversation with? A meeting? A follow-up email? Advice? In many cases, your goal will be an internship or other career opportunity. Your goal is your “ask.” Alex is very interested in the work being done at the listener’s company. Alex might close the pitch with this: “I’ve seen the web work done by Online Design Inc., and it’s cutting edge. I would love to intern there next summer. Is there someone I can send my resume to?”
Note that an elevator pitch isn’t “one size fits all”. You will likely need slightly different pitches for a number of scenarios and interactions. Once you have the basics, you will be able to adapt your pitch as necessary. And while the content is important–so is your delivery. You need to find and use your professional voice but still let your personality shine through. The best way to get it down pat? Practice. Out loud. In front of a mirror. Practice a lot–in the car, on a train ride, while you’re brushing your teeth… or maybe even on your next elevator ride!
Interested in learning more about career-readiness? Our internship programs provide not only custom internships but also teach you skills you will use throughout your internship, college, and your future professional experiences.