thinking beyond

The elevator pitch acquired its name from the fact that the pitch should only take the amount of time it would take to ascend a few floors in an elevator. It is an effective job-search tool that provides an opportunity to create the right impression in the mind of a potential employer in ± 30 seconds. It can be used each time you have to market yourself, and specifically for questions such as, “Tell me more about yourself?” or “What do you do for a living?” The key point of your elevator pitch is not to request the person to do something for you – it is to tell that person what you can do for him/her or for his/her company.

Prepare your elevator pitch in time. The opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch arrives when you least expect it. Prepare different versions of the elevator pitch to enable you to use it effectively, depending on the circumstances, and update your elevator pitch regularly. Keep the following in mind when preparing your elevator pitch:

Time is limited, so get to the point immediately.

The message: Start with a positive, confident and uplifting introduction. Your introduction must have a “hook” that determines whether your listener will be eager to hear more or will only pretend that he/she is listening to you. Acquire the listener’s attention with a compelling introduction. Use whatever information you have about your listener to get him/her to listen better, such as mentioning a recent promotion, product launch or the name of your school if he/she is an alumnus of the same school. The goal of a successful elevator pitch is to prompt your listener to ask you the all-important “tell-me-more” question.

  • Be specific – say who you are and what you aim to achieve.
  • Maintain eye contact – this displays confidence and trust.
  • Be natural – don’t sound rehearsed when delivering your speech.
  • Conclusion: Thank your audience and conclude with your name to ensure that your audience remembers you.
  • Practise, practise, practise. A good elevator pitch requires thorough preparation in order to highlight your most important points. Spend ample time practising; read your pitch aloud to yourself and to your friends; obtain useful feedback; eliminate unnecessary words; adjust the speed; and practise again. Repeat the exercise until you remember the elevator pitch.
  • Beware of an elevator pitch that causes the listener to ask, “So what?”.

An elevator pitch for a recent graduate

So, what does a college graduate’s elevator pitch include? You have five basic steps:

1. Your name;

2. Your degree/field of study/your school;

3. Your targeted industry or firm;

4. A statement of passion for the work/industry; and

5. A request for a contact.


It sounds something like this:

Example 1:

“Hi, my name is Bob. I’m a recent graduate from The Central University of Technology with a degree in {field of study or degree title}. I am looking to start my career in the {choice 1} industry or {choice 2} industry. These industries fascinate me because I see the potential of using my newly-acquired skills in {mention degree or field of study} to develop relevant products and services. You spoke of {firm name} that is a leader in this industry. Would you know someone at {firm name} that I could talk to? I’d like to hear more about {firm name} to better understand how my {field of study} talents would be a fit in that industry.”

Example 2:

“Hello, I am Samuel Jones. I am a Sociology graduate from XYZ University, where I acquired a strong foundation in research and analytical skills. I have worked as an intern in the research unit of a non-governmental organisation, where I provided up-to-date information on customer preferences with my skills. Consequently, my work expanded the company’s network base across several countries. I am currently seeking employment as a research analyst and would like to know what qualifications your company requires for such positions.”









Uploaded: 23 August 2018
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