Elevator Pitch Examples: How to Make a Hiring Team Ecstatic

You sit patiently in the downtown lobby before your 10 a.m. meeting with the hiring team at a promising new start-up, secretly celebrating because your interview readiness checklist is nothing but crossed-out text. You’ve arrived early, checked your outfit, smoothed your hair, and even dared to page through a glossy fashion magazine because you’ve done all that you can to ace this interview and land the job that will change your world.

But have you truly done all you can? The words “Tell me about yourself” will most likely be directed at you during the first few minutes of this interview. One or more people will settle in, focus their eyes on you, and wait for an impressive response. A rehearsal or two (or ten) would have served to make sure you have your elevator pitch accessible, timed, and perfected. “Accessible” is the operative word because you don’t want it to sound rehearsed, yet preparation sparks the magic, presenting you as the ideal candidate for this job.

You want to sound confident, organized, and enthusiastic. Tone is everything. There can be no rambling or uncomfortable pauses. You want it to flow in a relaxed, but eloquent, stream of sentences, an elegant testimony to who you’ve worked to become, who you are at this phase of your career, and who you are working to become in the future.

Elevator Pitch Example

Six Reasons Interviews Begin with This Prompt

  1. The interviewer wants to get a sense of who you are to decide if you’ll be effective in the available role.
  2. Because you have to respond quickly with some attention on you, it helps convince the interviewer that you work well and stay calm under pressure, that you know how to express yourself.
  3. Even small things like how much you smile and how comfortable you are speaking with strangers is indicative of how you’ll react to colleagues, supervisors, and clients.
  4. Your answer provides information about your education, experience, priorities, goals, work ethic, and more. You can convey details that aren’t necessarily on your resume or in your cover letter.
  5. It allows the interviewer to evaluate your poise in order to see how you’ll perform when making presentations to clients or discussing your role in projects to colleagues.
  6. There’s a certain culture at every business; your communication skills are essential. Your response to this question proves you have the ability to fit into their vibe, be a chameleon when it comes to reading people and responding.

Crafting Your Elevator Pitch

So, if you’re thinking, “There’s an awful lot riding on this two-minute response,” you’re right. There definitely is. That doesn’t mean you’ll be judged harshly if you don’t say everything they’re waiting to hear, but it would be ideal if you gave an amazing answer that provided the perfect set-up for the rest of your interview.

Success begins with clarity about who you are as a professional. Being able to communicate this effectively means that you must understand what makes you unique. You can begin by briefly outlining your education, name your degree and the school you attended. If you’re currently seeking or planning to pursue a degree or certificate, be sure to mention that as well. Follow with your career highlights. Next, figure out what sets you apart from other applicants by looking at the job description. Think about what you have that is applicable but may not be mentioned elsewhere in your materials. Finally, tell how you connect to your work on a personal level. What motivates you? Express your passion for the industry and the role.

Employers respond best to people who love what they do, who take pride in their careers. In addition, a pleasant personality can help “sell” you; let your conversation skills win you accolades. Everyone wants to work with positive, fun, kind people. Delivering an elevator pitch that reveals these traits requires practice techniques.

Tips for Rehearsing

  • Write your answer in sentences. While you won’t ever READ it, you’ll want it to be concise and well-crafted. Choose vocabulary that is creative and sophisticated without sounding pretentious.
  • Once you have a draft, read it aloud multiple times and then reduce it to key words in a bulleted list.
  • Try delivering it with the key words to stay on track and present your points in order. Eventually, eliminate the bullet points and present it from memory. Some paraphrasing is fine as long as you’re including everything.
  • Practice saying it for a friend or family member. This step is crucial because it allows you to work through any nerves you might have in a safe space. Focus on posture, eye contact, expression, and delivery.
  • Videotape your elevator pitch to pick up on any rough spots, check that you’re not speaking too fast or too slowly, ensure you’re not rambling, and eliminate filler words such as you know, um, or like. And don’t forget to smile!

Still struggling to craft your own pitch? Below you’ll find an elevator pitch example for all career levels: entry-level candidates, mid-level professionals, and C-Suite executives.

Entry-Level Elevator Pitch Example

Interviewer: “Thanks for coming in today, Justin. We’d love to know more about you!”

Justin: “Thanks for inviting me. Since I graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in May with a degree in Public Health, I’ve been interning and volunteering at Hershey Medical Center, where I’m learning a great deal about biostatistics and gaining experience in maintaining safety protocols. I’m delving deeper into specific industry regulations regarding disease control and prevention. After the pandemic completely upended my high school career, I decided this would be my focus. Research has always been my passion, and now I’m learning how it can be harnessed to keep patients and staff healthy in a hospital setting. My consistent patience in the lab and data precision have served me well; this field is where I can make the most difference, so I’m highly motivated. My goal is to secure a position that allows me to continue this work in a setting with strong mentors who will guide my career and elevate my understanding of biomedical science.

Mid-Career Elevator Pitch Example

Interviewer: “So, Marisa, tell us about yourself!”

Marisa: “Sure! Well, I earned an undergraduate degree in international business at Rutgers with a second major in Spanish. I then accepted an entry level position at Latin American Citibank in New York which I held for three years. I’m currently employed by The United Nations as a translator while completing my MBA at Columbia. I’m passionate about using my language skills and business expertise to enhance communications and bridge gaps between those who are working to establish better diplomatic ties between the United States and Latin American countries whether it be government agencies or private industries. Acquiring experience in both has enhanced my education and provided perspective. I enjoy problem-solving and am anxious to move into a leadership role based on my experiences. I bring energy and positivity. My strength is in motivating colleagues by identifying their unique talents.”

Executive-Level Elevator Pitch Example

Interviewer: “Nice to meet you, Isaac. Would you share some of your career highlights with our team?”

Isaac: Great to meet you too. After earning my BS in Media Management, I’ve spent the last twelve years learning and growing in my role as a Media Planner, where I’ve developed and optimized strategic plans for our top clients and managed a subset of planners as a Team Lead for multiple projects. I’ve been actively building my portfolio since I began my internship during college and up through my current position. It reflects my evolution as much as my resume. One of my proudest achievements was a pro-bono project that was recognized as a top non-profit campaign last year. I’ve been interested in moving to a non-profit for quite a while, and love what your company does in education. I have the expertise to create media that will enhance how you service and support students now and in the future. I’m certain I would be a great fit for your Media Director position as our mission and goals align. Everything I’ve done so far in the field in terms of study and practical experience has prepared me for a job like this one. I can’t wait to hear more about it from you and your team.

Time to Deliver

Now that you’ve done this preparation, when you’re in the lobby ten minutes before your interview, you can definitely feel free to pick up that fashion magazine. Turn to the most confident model they feature and match their energy when it’s time to deliver your elevator pitch.

Be proud to elaborate on who you are as an employee, the unique skill set you can offer the employer, and how your experience aligns with the role you’re interviewing for. Pitching yourself might be uncomfortable, but no one can do it better than you. Own the task; enjoy the opportunity.

I guarantee that by the time the metaphorical elevator doors open, you’ll be one floor closer to hired.

—Dana Kinsey, Red Pen Wench’s Certified Interview Coach

Lacking confidence in your interviews? Let Dana help! Click here to schedule an interview coaching session.