Honing Your Elevator Pitch

WHETHER YOU’RE NETWORKING, talking to recruiters or at your 20-year college reunion chatting up old buddies, you’ll need to explain your goals in 30 seconds or less, keep it positive and be specific without being boring.

As a matter of fact, that’s why it’s called an “elevator pitch.” Because everybody is so busy these days, you need to be able to explain what you want to do, why you’ll be good at it, and how they can help, in the time it takes for an elevator to go between floors in a building.

What are some examples of the right way and wrong way to create an elevator pitch?


         “Oh, I’m looking to do anything in sales.”

         “I’m looking for a job that has benefits and good pay.”

         “You know, with everything that’s happened, I think it’s time to get out of the derivatives industry, so I’m hoping to find somebody else that wants a guy with a decade of finance experience and a Wharton MBA.”

         “They hired a new boss for my division and, boy, is he a bear. I really need to get away from working with such a negative person.”

         “Oh, I don’t know, it’s just such a topsy-turvy time right now and I’m not sure what I should do next, it’s so confusing because every time you think a company is stable and secure, poof!, some accounting scandal turns up and they go under, and I’m just so worried about making a choice that’s going to turn out wrong, but I need to find something new because if I have to go into that office with that depressing lighting and those ugly cubicles one more time, I’m not sure what I’m going to do, as I just can’t take it any more since that meeting last month with the boss went so poorly and…


         For family reasons, we’re moving to Santa Monica to be closer to my wife’s parents. I’ve had a successful career in CPG marketing and I’m looking for a VP marketing position at a similar company where I can apply my expertise in direct marketing, brand development and public relations.”

         “I’ve really enjoyed leading the development of software at B2B companies, and I’d like to find an opportunity at a growing, VC-backed start-up where my skills in building teams, architecting scalable systems and developing code would make a real difference.”

         “I’ve been in pharmaceutical sales management for the past 16 years and have progressed through roles of increasing responsibility. I’m looking to join another pharmaceutical company where I can lead a national sales team and apply my proven track record of beating quota and developing deeper doctor and care- giver relationships.”

You know, Mark Twain said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

And making your elevator pitch short but effective is going to take some time. But it’s really very important that you’re able to briefly and effectively communicate your goals to anybody you’ll meet.

That’s the only way they’ll know what you already know: that you’re a valuable professional with a lot to contribute.

The Five Key Elements in your Elevator Speech:

  1. I AM – State your name
  2. I DO – What is your job title or the one you wish to achieve
  3. I HELP – How you help businesses under that Job Title
  4. I WANT – What you are looking for. The stuff listed under “RIGHT” above.
  5. I AM – repeat your name as they might have forgotten it.

The goal is to Arouse Interest, Create Desire and Motivate Action…start a conversation. Keep it short. Think Paul David Madsen’s
Twittervator Speech concept.

Do not elaborate on the specifics in your success story (how you help business), just the success story (dragon slayer story) that will cause them to ask “How do you do that?”

About Jeff Quandt

Jeff Quandt is an Inbound and Digital Marketing Strategist and owns On-Q Marketing LLC. He helps the members of the OCN through understanding their personal brand, how they have to market themselves as the solution to a hiring manager's problem, and offers a personal LinkedIn Counseling session for any member of the group. Jeff is a corporate refuge that has been laid off several times, so he is very familiar with the job hunt process, the ups and downs, and the success at the end of the tunnel. Keeping a positive attitude with the end goal in mind is crucial to a job seekers success. Today as a business owner, he is constantly looking for work, he knows the process well and it makes no difference if you work for someone else or yourself, you need to be the solution to someone's problem to get paid.