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The vital elevator pitch – Get yours ready

Published: Tuesday 14th April 2015

An elevator pitch or elevator speech is a short description of yourself that best encompasses you, who you are and what you bring to your line of work. It needs to be sharp and concise – coming in at only a few minutes long. The story goes that the elevator pitch was created by a filmmaker wanting to describe his movie idea to Steven Spielberg – he only had the length of the time it took for the elevator they were in to get to the ground floor, then he would have lost his most valued audience forever.

When going in for your interview, or even prior to the interview if you are having a phone or Skype interview first, you may be asked to do an elevator pitch about yourself. You won’t have to think off the cuff, as you’ll have used these tips to practise and utilise your strengths as you go forward in your job search.

What is your USP?

Woman giving speech in front of a lectern in public

Who are you and what makes you tick? Are you an expert in your field? Are you an innovator and leader? Do you mentor others or are your strengths in teamwork? Write down a few words that really showcase who you are and your main strengths and skills. As you begin to craft your elevator pitch, these words will be your ‘keywords’ and really set the pace for what you say about yourself.

A great elevator pitch must be easy to say

Don’t invent an elevator pitch that is overly wordy or packed with so many long words that you cannot fully memorise it; tripping over words as you attempt to talk. It must be spoken very fluently. Why not time yourself saying it? Anything under 2-3 minutes is a good time to aim for.

Can you write short and snappy sentences?

Think short and sweet, not too long. Think about each word too, you do not have much time to get yourself and your USP across. So, how many ways can you say that you are determined, a fast thinker and always go the extra mile? Are you very able when it comes to accountancy or highly creative when graphic design is called for? Jot down some short words that describe you perfectly.

Your added value

How do you help other people in your daily working life? Are you the first to step in if the computer or printer breaks down? Are you knowledgeable about software and IT? Do you always find that you are mentoring others? How do you react if someone has to teach you? Are you calm, dependable and follow instruction easily? Think of the best ways to sum up the way you come across to others and how they view you. This includes how well you get on with your boss or bosses.

African american conference speaker coach talk to audience give presentation on flip chart to employees


You really have to believe in your ‘EP’ as it’s taking shape – you’ve to buy into it. So, a good tip here is to record it digitally or on your mobile phone and listen to yourself speaking. As with everything you do, you have to put your heart and soul into selling yourself to a possible employer. Even if you cannot write very fluently, at least you’ll be speaking about what matters most to you. Do not make the mistake though of reading your elevator pitch from crib notes, learn it by heart; even if you get a word wrong when you are speaking, no one will know, just think of another word and carry on.

Speak with energy

You have to say your elevator pitch with great enthusiasm and not in a stilted fashion. Practice it daily into your mirror, saying it to friends and family members and also when you are driving in your car. It should become like a miniature speech that you might give as an actor on the stage, but you need to come across as completely natural. You can smile during your elevator pitch but in most part it’s a serious business: you are informing your audience (your prospective employer or clients) all about yourself and your brand (which is you also!)


When you’ve finished giving your short speech/presentation, then it’s time to stop and hopefully your speech will have been so well received that the people listening will thank you and ask you more about yourself. Prepare answers to the questions they may ask, do not rest on your laurels by staying quiet and gently nodding. Look like you could have talked for much longer – after all, you are not just talking about yourself, but about the value that you can bring to their company. The elevator pitch is about your goal to find a job, but it doesn’t have to be any job – it could lead you to your dream job.

To find more career and job hunting tips, visit the Zoek Blog or follow us on Twitter @zoekappuk. For jobs in your area, why not try Zoek and find jobs in a smarter, faster way. Download for free on iOS and Android and let your dream job find you.


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