Developing Your Elevator Pitch

Opportunities to land a job you will love happen inside and outside of a formal interview. You’ve probably heard the quote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Prepping for your elevator pitch is creating more luck in your life.

You may use your elevator pitch in a variety of situations —definitely not just elevators. It can also serve you as a reference when creating your application materials for a job. You can show you are a consistent, trustworthy and memorable applicant for busy hiring managers who are shifting through tens and sometimes hundreds of applications.

Overall, your elevator pitch lays the groundwork for your professional brand.

There are four main sentences for your elevator pitch:

  1. The “Thread” for Your Story

Stories are the best way to package who you are in a memorable way. They can also communicate a lot within a short amount of time. Your thread will link your early life to your life today. Link the skills you are good at and love to use and/or link your desired industry to a story, ideally one that stretches all the way from your childhood. This needs to communicate how you have been consistent in who you are and what you offer. For example, you can start it with either of the following:

  • “When I was young, I was always the one to [naturally support others, especially younger people that needed help.]”
  • “I came from a family where…”
  • “I was the child that…”
  1. The Grateful Brag

Frame your skills, experience, strengths and whatever you want to emphasize that you bring to the table by starting out with, “I’m grateful that…” You can also use this to explain a gap in your resume or other area of concern. For example:

  • “I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to learn Chinese at such a proficient level that I could use it to help clients from all over the world in my previous role.”
  • “I’m grateful that I could take that time off from a formal job to work on my programming skills while learning about what career path I was going to fully commit to.”
  1. The Holy Grail Skill

Oftentimes, hiring managers are looking for you to solve at least one problem they don’t want to even know they have after they hire you. Find that problem and identify the skill that is most important to them to solve it. This is the hiring manager’s Holy Grail Skill to find in a candidate. If you don't know what it is because of the nature of your interaction, just be honest with what skill you have that is most important to you and the work you do. If possible, communicate your ability in a testimonial format because it is more powerful than speaking to your own abilities. For instance:

  • “My manager told me I have a knack for [insert Holy Grail Skill/skill most important to you], and I think this will be helpful in this position because of [some relevant reason].”
  1. Align Yourself

Think about what matters most to the person, company or organization. You may be able to find this out ahead of time. See the language they use in their job postings, their mission statement, and their website. Align yourself with what is important to them. For example:

  • “Company X is a widely renowned real estate firm whose values of hard work and innovation closely align with my own.”

After you craft your elevator pitch, the most important thing to do is practice. Practice until you can deliver it without any hesitation. The point is not to memorize a script and parrot it, but know your most important points and let it flow naturally. This can prepare you to be calm and collected if you have the opportunity to talk to someone you know can help open doors for you —and possibly change your life.