Elevator Pitch

Learning Outcome

  • Students will be able to prepare evidence to enhance employability opportunities (interviews, resume, digital identity, portfolio)
  • Students will be able to deliver a 1-minute ‘elevator pitch to use in a variety of situations.

Background

It is important that students think about how they will communicate their skills, strengths and experience to potential employers and how they will ‘sell themselves’.

Creating a personal brand allows you to express yourself professionally to make a positive impact. To create a positive personal brand:

  1. Communicate your personal strengths, skills, talents and experience
  2. Don’t underestimate your value to an employer (e.g. the skills and experience you acquire while working at McDonalds, coaching a junior netball team, a project at university are all valuable to a potential employer)
  3. Consider the needs and wants of your target audience and try to communicate your value to match what they are looking for
  4. Master a personal self-marketing pitch (sometimes referred to as an ‘elevator pitch’). Unless we have thought about it beforehand many of us have little to say when we want to impress someone professionally. It can also be quite challenging to talk about yourself in an interesting and concise way. A prepared ‘pitch’ can help you feel a lot more confident in these situations and make a positive first impression

An elevator pitch is a short (approximately 60 seconds), concise statement that:

  • Promotes you as a professional (not just a student)
  • Provides a brief introduction about you and your goals

What to include in an elevator pitch:

  1. Who am I and what do I do (e.g. your name, where you attend university, what year you are in, what you are studying)
  2. What can I offer? Think about some examples from previous experiences (e.g. current job roles, university projects, sport, volunteering, extracurricular activities, interesting responsibilities you have had). What are some of the skills that you have gained from these experiences or unique qualities that could benefit the listener (e.g. problem-solving, ability to work in a team, organisational skills)
  3. My goals – e.g. what are you hoping to do when you graduate and why?

An effective elevator pitch will be:

  • Concise – it can be used whenever you have a fairly short time to introduce yourself and don’t have long to impress
  • Relevant and interesting – this means you may have to customise it or adjust your style of delivery according to your audience
  • A conversation starter – it should invite curiosity and encourage prospective employers or contacts to want to ask questions and find out more
  • Delivered in a relaxed, conversational way
  • Avoid jargon

Where you can use an elevator pitch

  • A networking event or employer event
  • face to face seeking a placement or phone contact seeking placement (“cold-call’)
  • Job interview in response to “tell me about yourself’ question
  • Part of a video resume
  • Careers fair or event
  • Resume, application letter, LinkedIn profile

Activities and discussion

It is recommended that the following activities are completed in sequential order:

  1. Warm-up activity (before introducing any content about elevator pitches), ask students to imagine that they are at a networking event and they are introduced to a senior manager at an organisation for which they would love to work. The manager says to the student, “so tell me a little bit about yourself”. Ask students to respond to that question in pairs. After 60 seconds, students to swap.

Discussion with class:

  • How did it feel to talk about yourself without any preparation?
  • What did you talk about?
  • Did you feel prepared?
  • Was it too short, too long?
  • Did it include a lot of ahs, umms, you know, like?

After delivering elevator pitch content:

  1. Students view an example elevator pitch – ‘Me in a Minute’ videos – final year students at Deakin University have created short videos where they film an elevator pitch outlining the knowledge and skills they have developed over their time at university.

Discussion:

  • What skills, strengths did the student talk about?
  • What evidence did they provide to back this up?
  • What might be some of the benefits of producing these videos?
    • Increase chances of getting employed
    • Accompany a job application
    • Allows you to reflect on your skills and experience and to communicate them
    • A point of difference in a highly competitive job market
    • Could share the video on LinkedIn to enhance profile
  1. Students develop a 60 second elevator pitch – Students to work individually to prepare an elevator pitch. Provide students with suggested guidelines of what they might include in the pitch.
  1. Students practice their elevator pitch in a ‘speed networking activity’. It is really important that students practice their elevator pitch (many times!) to feel comfortable and confident delivering it. This activity allows students to practice it with their classmates’ numerous times and to get ideas from listening to others.

Optional activities 

  1. Pitching in different scenarios – ask students to develop appropriate elevator pitches for different audiences and scenarios. Examples might include:
  • You get chatting with another student when buying lunch at Uni. Somehow it comes up that they’ve been putting together an interesting project with a diverse group of students. The students he describes sound impressive and well experienced. They’re hoping they can turn it into a business. You think it sounds really interesting, and would be great experience. Then they ask – ‘So, what do you do?’
  • Your industry has taken a turn. New technology has made graduate jobs scarce and you’re looking for somewhere else to apply your skills. A friend of yours says they know someone who is looking to hire. They set you up to meet for coffee. Turns out this person is looking for a new assistant. They say: ‘I understand you’re interested a graduate role. Tell me about yourself’.
  • Interview Stream – Interview Stream is an online video tool that allows academic staff to set assessments and students to record and submit videos for assessment. This resource is currently being trialled and updated information will be available here when it is available for broader use.

Further resources

Mode

Face-to-face

Time

1 hour

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