How To Craft A Personal Elevator Pitch

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When building out your network or meeting people for the first time you need an elevator pitch. This short speech, which takes only as long as an elevator ride to deliver, tells the person you’re talking to who you are, why they should listen to you, and what you want.

But for most people, elevator speeches don’t come naturally. You might be uncomfortable talking about where you are going, or asking for help. Doing both those things–and doing them persuasively–will take some planning and practice. Here’s how to get started.

If you are practicing your elevator pitch in hopes of landing a new job, we recommend using ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter makes finding and applying for jobs easy! You can apply for jobs with a single click and you have the option to upload your resume to their resume database as well.

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What Is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a 30- to 60-second commercial for yourself. You deliver this commercial to someone who doesn’t know you and what you have to offer. By the end of your pitch, the person you’re addressing should understand who you are, what you represent, the value you have to offer, and the action you’d like them to perform. Best-case scenario, they’ll also feel compelled to help you with your goal.

To be effective, your pitch must accomplish a few things:

  • Grab their attention. This can often be accomplished with a stat, interesting fact about you, or provocative question.
  • Answer the question “who are you?” Introduce yourself in a context that matters to the person you’re engaging.
  • Answer the question “why am I listening to you?” Explain your personal value proposition (i.e., what you have to offer and why they should care).
  • Answer the question “What do you want?” Be specific and clear with what you want to take away from the meeting or conversation.

When Should You Use an Elevator Pitch?

You’ve probably heard about elevator pitches in the context of job searches, but they have applications far beyond job interviews, job fairs, or networking events.

Entrepreneurs can use these tools when meeting with potential investors or get feedback on a business idea. Students can create pitches to explain their goals to advisors. Employees can deploy pitches to secure a promotion or access to continuing education benefits. And any professional with a LinkedIn profile can use elevator pitches to quickly and engagingly summarize their value proposition to contacts.

How To Craft a Pitch That Gets Attention

Before you write your elevator pitch, you need to do some thinking about what you want, what you offer, and how you’d like this person to help you. Start by brainstorming an outline of what your pitch needs to cover.

Set Your Intention

What is your goal? Are you hoping to land a job interview, get a job offer, secure an informational interview, or network your way to another contact at the organization? Write down your primary aim.

Define Your Value Proposition

The next step is to understand what you have to offer. Do you possess skills that are in high demand for this role and industry? Do you have extensive work experience that will help you compete with other business owners in this space? Have you published research in this area that engages with the listener’s area of expertise?

Explain Your Ask

Finally, know what you want out of this interaction. Is it a job offer, a recommendation, further information, or a chance to connect in the future? Be as precise as possible, so you’ll know what success looks like.

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Elevator Pitch Template

Once you’ve outlined your goals, value proposition, and call to action, it’s time to write your pitch. Here’s an outline to get you started:

  1. Introduce yourself: Give them your name, the context for your conversation, and anything important you’d like them to know. For example: “Hi, I’m Jane Smith, and I’m a senior in the landscape architecture program at Northern University.”
  2. Grab their attention: You can do this with a stat, an interesting fact about you, or a provocative question. For example: “Last week, your social media team made one of my dreams come true by sharing my TikTok about sustainable hardscaping hacks.”
  3. Explain your personal value proposition: What do you have to offer this person or their organization? Example: “I received over 100,000 views for that video, which I’m integrating into a multimedia senior project.”
  4. What do you want? The clearer your request, the better. Make sure your ask is reasonable and within the person’s power to grant. (In other words, don’t ask an HR rep at a job fair to give you a job. Ask them how you can get on their radar for an interview.) Example: “My career counselor shared a listing for a marketing internship at your company. I’d love to apply. Can you share the best contact for my application?”

Elevator Pitch Mistakes To Avoid

Feeling kind of cringy about your speech so far? You might have forgotten the most important part of any pitch: delivering value to the listener. Ask yourself if you’ve made any of these common elevator pitch mistakes:

Going Long

Don’t ramble. Keep your speech short and sweet. It’s respectful of the listener’s time and ensures that your message lands.

Stuffing Your Speech With Buzzwords

You want them to know that you’re the real deal, but using too much jargon just makes it look like you’re trying to game them. Be real.

Being Full Of Yourself (Or Too Modest)

Especially if you’re uncomfortable, it’s easy to go too far in one direction or another. Remember your value proposition. Your skills and experience can speak for themselves–if you’re willing to let them.

Failing To Personalize

A good pitch is custom-crafted for its audience. Don’t deliver the same speech to every employer, investor, or client. Personalize your pitch for the listener, context, and goals.


Know your points, but don’t rattle off the same pitch word for word. You’ll sound like you’re trying to rush through…and you will be.

Not Having An Ask

People want to be helpful–let them. Be as clear as possible about what you want and need and how you hope to get it.

Forgetting To Follow Up

If you say you’ll do something–reach out, send an article, follow up on a point of your conversation–do it. At the very least, send a LinkedIn message or email to thank them for their time.

Bottom Line

Taking the time to craft a personal elevator pitch can help you network, land a job or meet a potential investor. Hopefully this guide gave you the information you need to craft the perfect elevator pitch.

If you are searching for a new job, we recommend ZipRecruiter. Start applying for new jobs today and wow your interviewers with your new elevator pitch!