Have you ever been hired for a job or internship? Do you remember what the interview process was like? Whether you realized it or not, you probably presented something along the lines of an elevator pitch in the interview typically after the “so tell me about yourself” part. While what you delivered may not fall exactly within the confines of the typical elevator pitches you’re familiar with, it’s likely that, as a student, you have the elements to put a professional one together.
Simply stated, all students should have an elevator pitch up their sleeves. Of course, the information in a pitch will vary depending on what stage of school you’re in — someone in college has more to impress with than someone in high school. But nonetheless, a deliverable elevator pitch is achievable and important.
An Elevator Pitch Will Evolve (And That’s Okay)
Even though an elevator pitch will be in a constant state of development (while you’re in school, at least) it’s important that you don’t deem creating one as a waste of time. During your formative years as a student, you’re constantly evolving and your elevator pitch will, in turn, do the same. Remember that this is okay. Even if it seems to change every month, you’ll be practicing the underrated skill of elevator pitch development and delivery.
Things to Include in Your Elevator Pitch:
1. Start off your elevator pitch with an introduction and something that will differentiate you from a crowd. This can be anything from a fact about school (what you’re studying/plan to study in college) to something that will create common ground with the person whom you’re speaking with (“I’m from ______, too!”). You may want to change up your “hook,” so to speak, depending on who you’re delivering your pitch to. If you know something about them and can pinpoint similarities between the two of you, highlight these.
2. Be sure to mention your goals and career aspirations. It’s important to indicate that you are working towards where you see yourself in the future.
3. Talk about some activities and extracurriculars you’ve become involved with as a result of your goals. How are these propelling you forward? This is an important thing to highlight in a pitch; experience speaks miles beyond grades and numbers.
4. Explain why you are qualified for the position (or whatever it is you’re working towards). Elaborate on what would make you an awesome candidate. Share about a particularly interesting course you’re enrolled in, somewhere you’re volunteering, or an organization that relates back to your dream career.
5. Finish off your pitch with a question. Ask who would be best to contact for a job opportunity, internship, or even a job shadow or practice interview. Don’t forget to hand out your business card as the cherry on top of the lasting impression you’ve just created.
Crafting the Elevator Pitch:
If you’re at a loss for how to begin crafting your elevator pitch, utilize the following fill in the blank structure to get a feeling for how you would phrase things. Afterward, change it according to what feels most natural.
Fill in the Blank for High School Students:
“Hi, my name is ___________ and I’m a ___________ (year in school) at ___________ (high school) in ___________ (town and state, if applicable). I am interested in ___________ as a possible career path. I enjoy doing ___________ in my free time.
Fill in the Blank for College School Students:
“Hi, my name is ___________ and I’m a ___________ (year in school) at ___________ (college or university) studying ___________ (major) and ___________ (minor, if applicable). I am interested in pursuing work in the ___________ industry/field and have done ___________ (extracurriculars, organization, volunteering) as a result. I have developed these skills by ___________ (participating in an internship, working a particular job, etc.)
So, while those may be a little robotic and rough around the edges, you get the point. Use the templates above to help you get an elevator pitch rolling and then make the phrasing flow so you don’t come across as reading from a script.
Make The Right Impression
Whether you find yourself standing next to the professional you’re looking to impress or are headed into an interview for a new job, it’s likely that you will have to make a lasting impression in some way. Having an elevator pitch will take away some of the struggle and stress that can come about when you suddenly feel at a loss for words. Especially applicable when you’re a student, having a memorized, go-to elevator pitch could play an integral role in making the right impression when you least expect to.