Building Your Elevator Pitch 

As you prepare to meet employers at a Career Fair or Meet & Greet, you must develop your “elevator pitch” so you can easily let potential employers know about you, your skills, and your career goals. But why is it called an elevator pitch, anyway, and how do you come up with one? 

Well, they call it an “elevator pitch” because it’s a couple of quick statements that should be around 30-45 seconds long, about as long as it would take to go up in an elevator with a prospective employer – once the doors open, the employer walks out, and you would want your pitch to be compelling enough for the employer to want to hear more. The chances of meeting an employer in an elevator aren’t too high (you never know!), but imagine this scenario as you meet with the company recruiters at a career fair – there’s usually limited time for you to get your point across, so you’ll want to be prepared. But how can you include everything you want to say in only 30-45 seconds? 

First off, 45 seconds is a longer time than you probably think – set a timer for 45 seconds and let it run, and you’ll see it’s plenty of time to get that information in. Now, you can guess the basic info to start your pitch – your name, your year in school, and your major – then what?   

Think about what you want to accomplish with this pitch – ultimately, the goal is to have the other person want to schedule a longer conversation (an interview) with you to get to know you better, so your pitch isn’t the place to give a laundry list of all your classes and extracurricular activities. Now is the time to state your career goal clearly and concisely, and in a sentence or two explain how your experiences up until now have prepared you to meet that career goal. Take some time to think about what your goals are, and what it is you would like to do after you leave UConn. Once you know that, see if there’s any of your classwork or extracurricular activities that might align with that goal, and include it as part of your pitch. Here’s an example: 

“My name is Don Draper, and I’m a Senior Marketing student here at UConn. I’m interested in the advertising industry, after having spent the last year creating outreach campaigns and soliciting sponsorships for the non-profit my fraternity supports. I also really enjoyed several group projects in class analyzing and interpreting survey data, and now I’m looking to find an entry-level position with an established firm where I can build my data analysis skills in the consumer space. What would be the best way for me to schedule time to have an in-depth discussion about openings at your company?”  

Make sure to note the last sentence asking for the opportunity to interview – don’t worry that you’re being too aggressive, or too “sales-y”, because anyone you’re speaking with knows very well that you’re speaking with them to get an interview, and they are expecting to hear a clear “ask”. Besides, asking clearly for the interview will get you a clear answer from the employer, so you’ll have a better understanding of their process. 

Schedule a 30-minute appointment with a Career Coach at the UConn Center for Career Development to help you focus on your career goals statement, and refine your pitch. Then, when you give your pitch, employers will see you are the confident and prepared individual they will want to meet! 

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

By Kathleen Powell
Kathleen Powell Front Desk Operations Assistant