Elevator Pitch For Job Seekers: Tips To Maximise Impact

The invention of the elevator pitch could date back to late 1990’s, when the internet explosion took place at Silicon Valley and technology companies were competing for investors’ money to fund new projects. Rather than waiting endlessly for scheduled appointments, fund seekers would ride the elevator with investors to sell project ideas within less than a minute.

The elevator pitch proved to be very efficient/successful  in the world of start-ups and soon the principle was passed to the hands of job seekers.  While the topic on how to write elevator speech is already exhausted, this article will give you a couple of out-of-box ideas on how to maximise its effect, when looking for a job.

As a job seeker what is the goal of your elevator pitch?

A successful elevator pitch is brief and saleable. It succinctly delivers unique information that potential employers want to hear and is easy to remember. The end goal of the pitch is to grab the interest of a potential employer, so that you get a conversation going, make a new connection, or, get a follow-up meeting or interview.

What do employers want to hear?

It’s tricky to figure out what would capture an employer’s attention. While this would vary from person to person, in general, people would be interested in hearing a unique perspective of their function/industry or something about how you can help their business make more money.

To achieve this, you need to do your homework on daily basis.

  • Assignment No.1 :  Follow news, reports, studies, journals, and conferences that keep you updated on issues of targeted employers.
  • Assignment No.2 : Fill your calendar with informational interviews with professionals who have insider perspectives on your field.
  • Assignment No.3 : Form some of your own views, in addition to and by combining all the perspectives you read and hear.

By persisting with these three moves, you increase the chances of delivering a great job search elevator pitch.

Remember that the “Elevator” is everywhere.

So don’t leave the elevator pitch till the last moment, like the fourth -year college student who  drafts up an elevator pitch, practices it, and pulls out the formal suit a night before the big job fair. Prior to that, he/she probably never delivers an elevator speech.

The most striking moment for your job seeker elevator pitch is when one least expects it —- seated during flights, waiting at bus stations, working out in the gym, and literally when you are riding your apartment elevator with your neighbour.

Prepare in advance and keep your pitch ready to go at all times.

Have a few versions of your job seeker elevator pitch.

To conquer tough enemies, you better prepare back-up plans. Using one elevator pitch for all employers and situations, will fail you.

A formal version would sound boring and out-of-place under circumstances like parties, and entertainment rooms, where people’s minds are set for fun. Instead, infusing the information between casual chats would be more natural.

Therefore, just like classic music movements usually have more than one variation, a few different pitches based on your master speech will be very effective.

Keep improvising your elevator pitch.

You can’t set it and forget it. The world keeps changing and so must your pitches. Make sure you update them regularly.

Show who you really are? Avoid using a template.

I’d love to make life easy for your and provide a template for an elevator speech. However, that won’t help really you.

One of many downsides of using template to construct an elevator pitch is a standardised personality. Your image will blur and diffuse with many others who use the same template.

Uniqueness fades when standard expressions erase all the variance.

You are different, and you should let that show in your pitch.  Before you draft, take a while to ponder over the strengths, personality traits and styles that best define you, and try to incorporate those into your writing. Keep it conversational and keep it natural.

Get honest feedback.

Last but not least, honest feedback is important. An objective check by friends or career advisors will help you refine your pitch and display confidence and comfort while you are delivering it.

Here are some examples of situations where you might use an elevator pitch, during your job search:

Scenario 1

You spot a person at a bus station/airport who is holding materials that indicate he/she is an insider of your targeted industry.

General Pointers:

  1. Pick up some easy/safe conversation starters: weather, flight/bus service,  light mockery of yourself(no drama, please), magazine/newspaper they read.
  2. Don’t intrude personal space.
  3. Ask for their name card and add them on LinkedIn or Facebook.


You:  “This bus line/flight company always keeps you waiting for a long time.”

“Yes, it does”

You: “But I know a trick, there is one bus that comes on time, at 9 am every other day.”

“Wow, thank you for this information.”

You: “I saw you a few times waiting for this bus in the morning, guess you will like this.”

“Yes, I do.”

You: “I’m xx, working at/ student at……, and you?


You: “You work in…..? It’s a great job.  You know what; it’s the area/company that I’m  very interested in . YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH takes over from here.”

Scenario 2

You are targeting a VIP, Mr. Ong, who would be the keynote speaker at a professional social event.

General Pointers:

  1. Research this VIP, focus on the main concepts the VIP is studying or working  on.
  2. Contact the event host, confirm the schedule and if possible ask about this VIP’s itinerary, to identify the best time to approach him.
  3. Ask questions during their talk.
  4. At the end of the conversation, fortify the fresh connection. Ask for their name card and try to schedule another meet with him.


You: “I’m …from…. Thank you for your explicit explanation for my question. Actually I have another quick question that I’d love to ask you about….


You: “I have been very interested in the issues surrounding _______ and  YOUR ELEVATOR SPEECH starts here.

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