How To Write an Elevator Pitch About Yourself

Chalkboard with 'What's Your Story?'

Throughout your career, you’ll need to introduce yourself to new people. You’ll probably attend interviews or networking events. You might even end up giving a sales pitch to a new client. In any case, crafting an elevator pitch can be an essential career-building skill. Not only for finding a job, but also for advancing your career.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a prepared introduction, written to help communicate who you are, and what you’re all about. What you communicate depends on the reason you’re introducing yourself, but for duration, any good elevator pitch should be in the neighborhood of 10 to 30 seconds.

When to Use an Elevator Pitch

Networking events seem like the most obvious place to use an elevator pitch, but a good pitch is actually useful throughout your career. Anytime you need to introduce yourself in a professional capacity, need to pitch a project to a prospective client, or need to explain what your organization does, prepared statements can be incredibly useful.

Why Use an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch helps you make a great first impression. Having prepared remarks means you’re ready to communicate your point without putting yourself at the mercy of your best improvisational skills. Preparedness is bound to leave an impression on recruiters and interviewers, especially compared to anyone who doesn’t have an elevator pitch.

This level of preparedness is why elevator pitches are used by almost anyone whose job includes public speaking, from politicians to professionals. Of course, networking is a little tougher than making a great introduction. It may be worth brushing up on a few networking tips to help you find a job. 

How to Write an Elevator Pitch

Having specific objectives in mind is essential to the success of any elevator pitch. Are you looking for a way to introduce yourself to people in a specific industry? Looking to create an elevator pitch for an insurance job? Do you have a particular idea you’re trying to pitch? Your intentions will inform whatever ends up in your elevator speech.

Tip 1: Answer Quick Questions About Yourself

Writing about yourself can be tough. To keep your elevator speech headed in the right direction, it can be useful to pretend you’re a journalist and answer the Five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why. Like any good journalist, you also have to think about your audience’s interests and background.

Tip 2: Avoid Complex Jargon - Keep Your Elevator Speech Simple

Jargon can be an impressive way to communicate to industry-folk that you’re in-the-know. But jargon can be terribly alienating to people who aren’t acquainted with it. If you were talking to a recruiter, you might describe your goals, share your skills and qualifications, and then outline what you’ve achieved so far.

Tip 3: Listen Before Speaking During Your Elevator Speech

Focus on information that’s valuable to the listener, information that highlights your relevance, and information that helps you stand out from other applicants. You can often encapsulate this by writing a unique value proposition, like “my background in both customer service and mathematics has given me greater insight into this kind of work.”

How Long Should an Elevator Pitch Be?

The answer to that question is right in the name; about the length of time you’d spend during an interaction on an elevator. Once you’ve got your pitch written, be sure to practice and time yourself.

Elevator Speech Examples

Elevator speech templates can be hard to follow because each pitch should be personalized.

An introductory elevator pitch might look like: Hey I’m Todd, a recent graduate from the University of Learning. I have a multidisciplinary degree, so I’m trying to learn about the work environments of different companies and trying to meet people in different lines of work. What kind of work do you do?

An elevator pitch for an insurance job to an insurance company would be similar, but would also highlight experience: Hi, I’m Amanda. I used to be a customer service rep at Company Inc., but I'm looking to move into the insurance industry. I’ve read my background in psychology could be useful. Has that been the case in your experience?

Closing your pitch with a question is a great way to be engaging and give your listeners a clear way of responding. Interesting statements of fact are another way to be engaging, though these can be tougher to create when writing an elevator pitch for students with no experience. 

Because of the importance of personalization, it helps to know more about specific positions and careers you’re pursuing. In other words, having a better idea about what kind of career path is suitable for you will make it possible to write a more effective elevator pitch. With that in mind, it might be worth checking out MyPath’s Career Wizard Quiz.

Perfecting Your Pitch

An elevator pitch should leave your listener wanting to hear more. It should be short, direct, and descriptive about any ways in which you’re unique. Writing a pitch can be tough, but when done correctly, you immediately understand why they’re so popular among successful professionals.