Have you heard of the thing called an elevator pitch? It’s basically a summary that people use to quickly introduce and “sell” themselves at the same time. The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. Every jobseeker should have a clear elevator pitch ready, so when they meet a potential employer by chance, you want that short 30 seconds to count, hopefully pique their interest and get them to say “tell me more”.

A Basic Elevator Pitch

Here’s an example of a typical elevator pitch:

“Hi, my name is John. I am currently a student at MMU and I am doing a degree in Accounting and Finance. I am graduating in July next year, and hoping to start my career in the accounts department of a technology company. I have always been very interested in tech businesses, and want to be part of a fast moving environment. I have done an internship with ABC tech company before in the accounts team, so I hope to continue to build on that.”

Not bad for a basic elevator pitch, covers who you are, what experience you have, and what you’re interested in. You should at least be equipped with a statement like this in case you meet someone who works in a company you want to join.

Elevator Pitch with Storytelling

Now, let’s take it up a level. While the elevator pitch above is okay, it doesn’t naturally lead to a “tell me more” situation.

Let’s try to bring some storytelling techniques into your elevator pitch, so it sounds more natural, and people pay more attention to stories anyway. Try using this structure to your elevator pitch:

  1. Start with the most important thing you want them to know about you.
  2. Throw in a story that is specific and relevant to the listener, and that story should also be a reason why you are talking to them, it cannot be generic.
  3. Your last sentence should open up a conversation. Make them go “tell me more”.
  4. Make sure you sound very human and natural! No one likes listening to a scripted sales pitch.

Let’s look at an improved elevator pitch example:

“Hi, my name is John, I’m a student at MMU, and expecting to graduate with a degree in Accounting this July. I’m hoping if everything goes as expected I should graduating with a CPGA of over 3.5. I read an article the other day that your company is considered one of the most innovative businesses in Malaysia right now. I’ve just finished an internship with ABC tech company a couple of months ago, and they told me to consider joining them full time after I graduate. But I’m also very curious to see if your company would consider looking at Accounting graduates?”

More natural and definitely more engaging. See if you can break down this example into the structure above.

Remember not to sound like a robot, and have fun building your elevator pitch!

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Posted by Derek Toh

Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB.CO. He was part of the pioneer batch for the Stanford-MaGIC Entrepreneurship Program, and is also a mentor for McKinsey & Company’s Youth Leadership Academy.

Derek is on a mission to revolutionise work culture in Asia. He cares about initiatives that improve education and the talent market. Derek is also a big fan of superhero movies, and has been told that he drinks too much coffee during the day.

2 Comments

  1. […] What’s an elevator pitch? Basically a way you can introduce yourself within a short period of time, and hopefully catch the attention of potential employers. Elevator pitches are well crafted, well practised statements, that have to come out very naturally, for them to work. Check out some guidelines for a modern elevator pitch for jobseekers. […]

  2. […] is basically your elevator pitch in super short form. Remember that everyone you meet has probably just met a fair amount of new […]

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