young well dressed man pressing elevator button and looking at elevator doors

Going up!? Establishing an Elevator Pitch.

An elevator pitch is a way to express why your employer should care about your candidacy and believe you’re the best fit for a potential role – all in 20 seconds (about the time it takes to ride an elevator from point A to point B).

No pressure, right!?

Employers will receive, on average, 250 resumes per opportunity posted and choose 4-6 candidates for the job – only one will be successful. In short, if you want to rise above the competition, you’ve got to be your biggest enthusiast. This starts with knowing yourself, what you bring to the team, and why the sum of your educational journey, experiences, and personality is a better fit for the position than anyone else applying.

Determining your elevator pitch removes self-doubt and presents your candidacy for the hopeful role naturally in alignment with your employer’s aims. An elevator pitch can also help you cut through the nerves that come with resume submission and interviews – keeping communications with your prospective employer on-message and on-target.

Approach Your Elevator Pitch with Authenticity. First Answer Why.

There is no shortage of recommendations for how to write, articulate, and strategically approach your elevator pitch. More and more employers are moving from looking first at education, and instead to experiences gained, values, and personality.

Our first suggestion, taking a page from Simon Sinek, is to lead from a place of authenticity by answering your ‘Why’. ‘Why’¬†doesn’t mean, ‘to make money.’ Sure, this is very important (especially as a student or new grad) but instead, answering ‘why’ requires inner reflection, a refinement of your ‘personal brand’. First, establish:

  • What is your purpose?
  • What are your core beliefs and how do you embody these beliefs?
  • Why can you make a difference on this team, and at this company?
  • Why should your employer care – and care more than anyone else?!?

These answers set the tone for your entire message and ensure your efforts are aligning who you are with who your employer is, what their company does and stands for, and where you both want to go.

You’d be surprised but establishing this pitch isn’t just about verbal communication but consistency in your messaging – which is a powerful tool. This pitch can either be written down (think a cover letter or compulsory forms) or articulated (think career fairs, coffee chats, networking events, and the ultimate goal…interviews).

Once you’ve established your purpose, values, and reasoning for even giving the elevator pitch, and how and where you’re using it, you need to start putting it into action.


Write Your Elevator Pitch Down & Follow This Simple Format:

  • Introduce yourself, leading with your first and last name (even if you’re wearing a name tag)
  • Provide a high-level overview of your educational background, including the experiential learning and skill development you’ve participated in that align with furthering your suitability for the role
  • A synopsis of why the role is meaningful to you and why you want to work for their team
  • Thanking your listener(s) or reader(s) for their time and reinforcing your excitement about the possibility to work together.

Your candidacy for any role goes well beyond simple education and experience and taps deeper into why you’re the right fit based on personality, character, values, and hopes and dreams. Your hopeful employer or interviewer can’t get to know you entirely in one meeting or through one resume. Yet the simple fact remains that first impressions are built within seconds of meeting someone (studies have shown, perceived trustworthiness is built by the tenth second). Whether you’re at a career fair, writing your cover letter or introductory email, or being interviewed, knowing who you are and why your unique educational journey and experiences are valuable to your hopeful career is so powerful. Businesses are made up of people and when you’re interviewed it’s not just about what’s on paper but the impression you give – and give quickly.

So, ‘going up?!?’