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What Exactly Is an Elevator Pitch?

Image: elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is a 60- to 90-second sales pitch by you, and about you, the candidate. You can use it in any situation where an opportunity to make a potential business contact might arise: at a networking event, starting off a job interview, at a social event or even – yes – in an elevator. It defines the value you can add to a potential employer by highlighting your experience, accomplishments and skill sets. It's not just about what you say, though; it's also about how you say it. Your elevator pitch should be sure to include strong adjectives that make a strong and memorable statement.

Say you are a professional with one to two years of experience in customer service who is looking to advance into a supervisory role. At a conference, you meet a director for a large telecommunications company that hires for just this sort of role. You'd love to get a reference or gain some insight on the company or the position. What do you say to let that person know who you are and what you bring to the table? Enter your elevator pitch.

To help you create the perfect pitch, we'll take you through the questions your elevator pitch needs to answer and then share a few examples.

First, the questions. We'll use the situation described above to create some sample answers to get us started.

  • Who are you? I am a customer service professional.
  • What are your skills? I possess skills in conflict resolution, communication, training and product knowledge.
  • What is your experience? I have more than two years' experience as a customer service rep for a major digital media company and am a recent Bachelor of Business Administration graduate.
  • What are your accomplishments? I developed a team-building activity that focused on trust and communication. I was able to get the whole team engaged in a fun game of Jeopardy while also introducing new product knowledge and an enhanced customer satisfaction initiative.
  • What is your unique strength? I specialize in working in high-pressure environments where attention to detail is needed while balancing the duties of a trainer.
  • Don't forget to ask for help. Remember, there are reasons why you are speaking with this industry professional: to develop a new contact, gain some insight and ultimately lead to a potential opportunity!

Now that you are aware of how to create the right pitch, which one below is the most effective one? Which one would you use when opportunity knocks?

Pitch No. 1

Hello, my name is Olivia Wyatt, and I am a customer service specialist with more than two years of experience utilizing conflict resolution techniques, mentoring new hires and developing team-building activities. I currently work in a high-pressure environment where attention to detail is extremely important, along with customer satisfaction. I recently completed my bachelor's degree in business administration and would like to transition into a leadership in which I can use my education along with my coaching and communication skills. I will be able to bring a balance of product knowledge, leadership and problem-solving skills to a supervisory position in your company. Are you aware of any opportunities within your organization that you feel would be a good fit for me and that I can learn more about?

Pitch No. 2

Hello, my name is Olivia Wyatt, and I am a customer service professional with more than two years of experience. I am a problem solver and mentor with great communication skills. I recently completed my bachelor's degree in business administration and would like to transition into a leadership role. I am currently working in a customer service position with Cable Inc., where I focus on providing exceptional service to customers in order to create more referrals. I also have trained new hires on all policies and procedures. I developed a team-building activity that focused on trust and communication. I was able to get the whole team engaged in a fun game of jeopardy while introducing new product knowledge and an enhanced customer satisfaction initiative. I feel that I will be able to utilize my team-building and communication skills as a leader for your organization.

It may be hard to tell, but the first one would the best way to go for two reasons. First, in the very beginning of the pitch, it names at least three areas of expertise that are related to this customer service role. This is important for employers to hear and be able to visualize. Second, it shows the desire for progression in her career by not only stating that she is looking for a supervisory role, but then asking the listener if there are any openings in their company. When you make your elevator pitch, make sure that once you have covered your experience, skill set, and where you see yourself in your career, you finish by finding out how they can help you with more of a direct question. What do you have to lose?

Interested in more posts on job search-related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.

If you're a current AIU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800, Option 5, or at careerservices@aiuonline.edu.

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