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Make a 30-second ‘elevator pitch’ to success

Whether you are looking for a job or selling something, it is easy to give a meandering tale about why you are special. If you really want that job or sale, though, you need to have a 30-second “elevator pitch” ready to let people know what you do and what you want.

Make a 30-second ‘elevator pitch’ to success
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Whether you are looking for a job or selling something, it is easy to give a meandering tale about why you are special.

If you really want that job or sale, though, you need to have a 30-second “elevator pitch” ready to let people know what you do and what you want.


An elevator pitch is shorthand for a concise summary of who you are, what you do, and why you are perfect for whatever you are promoting.

It’s short, about 30 to 60 seconds, which is about the time it takes for a fast lift, or elevator, to get from the ground floor to the top of a tall building. 

The goal for the pitch is to take advantage of a short window of time you have with a prospective employer or contact to create interest and move on to a longer interview or meeting.

People pass judgements on others very quickly, recruitment firm Robert Half notes, so the pitch is extremely important for summarising what value you offer in as few words as possible. 

Use an elevator pitch to get explain, clearly and concisely, why you are the perfect candidate.

If you are pitching a product or service, it is an ideal opportunity to give a quick overview of your business and intrigue the person you are meeting so that they want to know more.

Rather than just describing what you offer, tell how it will deliver more profits in less time, more easily, than the alternatives they might know about already.

A great pitch can lead to you getting a job or making a sale that can increase your income and give you more personal satisfaction at the same time.


When you begin developing your pitch, design it so that you can use it anywhere.

While you might have a chance to use it in a lift, you are more likely to run into someone you want to impress at a conference or a party. 

Think of the pitch as a commercial and yourself as the product, career website TheInterviewGuys suggests, and be ready to show what makes you the best at what you do.

Start by writing down everything you would want an employer or client to know about your skills and accomplishments, then ruthlessly delete everything that is not critical to your pitch. Identify the value you offer and develop a unique selling point that sets you apart from everyone else who does or offers what you do.

Recruitment firm Monster suggests including specific examples of how you can apply your skills to improve your listener’s business.

The pitch should be no more than 200 words, and it is even better if it is closer to 100.

Start with an attention-grabbing statement, followed by the benefits you would bring as an employee or partner.

Each sentence should be impactful, direct and easy to understand.

It also needs to show the real you, since anyone who is listening is likely pick up fake details very quickly.

Recruitment firm Manpower Singapore suggests telling a story with a problem, a struggle, a solution and a resolution.

The key point is to ensure that you convey your unique selling point to the listener clearly, carefully and quickly.

You will need to make the pitch simple and not include technical terms, since the listener may not have as much detailed knowledge about the industry as you do.

Including a question can be a great way to focus attention on a feature you want to highlight.

At the end, have a plan of action to follow up: Ask if you can send your resume, meet with the person or give him or her a demonstration. 


It is not enough just to prepare the best elevator pitch in the world. You also have to deliver it well.

Just like you are inspired by a painting or a song or a film, so a pitch can have the same effect by serving as an inspiration when you show your unique talents, Northeastern University states in an article, Perfecting the Elevator Pitch.

The key step is to practise, practise, and practise again.

Some people practise dozens of time before they get the pitch exactly right. Then, they still need to be flexible enough to adjust it, depending on who they are meeting.

When you speak, exude passion and personality. At the same time, slow down and don’t speak too fast, so that you don’t lose your audience of one.

People judge body language in the first few seconds, so have someone watch your pitch and let you know whether you are giving the right impression.

Delivery style also matters, the University of California at Davis teaches.

Smile at your counterpart, open with a statement that grabs the person’s attention, describe yourself enthusiastically, tell what contributions you will make, offer a vivid example, explain the special solutions you can offer, tell a story, and then call for action.

You can use that pitch anytime you meet someone who is a potential employer or client.

Take full advantage of the 30 seconds you have with them, and you may be surprised at how those few seconds can lead to a better job or a sale and a better financial situation.

Related topics

job interview elevator pitch career social networking

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