How To Nail The Dreaded Elevator Pitch

Photo by  Daan Stevens  on  Unsplash

“Tell me a little about yourself.”

You’ve probably heard these words at the beginning of most job interview you’ve ever had. Do you know what this means in this situation?

To be clear, this is not a personal question. The people interviewing you do not care where you are from, how old you are, your family status, and what you like to do in your spare time. During a job interview, “Tell me a little about yourself,” translates roughly to “Why should I consider hiring you?”

You have two to three minutes to tell the hiring manager why you are THE ONE. Your answer will set the tone for the rest of the interview will impact how the interviewers perceive you during the remainder of your interview process. You need to be prepared with the greatest “Elevator Pitch” of all time.

An “Elevator Pitch” is a Hollywood phrase that means pitching a movie or TV show to an executive during the average time it takes to ride in an elevator with him or her. In Hollywood, most skyscrapers are the ones the art department whips up on the studio back lot, so that elevator ride is short and sweet. Your pitch should be too. Again, you’ve got two or three minutes before the doors open. Every word counts.

In a job interview setting, you’re pitching yourself. You are the hero of this story, and your story should be a very brief summary of who you are from a professional standpoint.

Minute 1 – This is your top line, high level, penthouse suite description of who you are. “I am highly experienced designer of gadgets and weapons that can destroy your worst nemesis, the world, or The Universe with an A-List clientele that includes a variety of notorious Super Villains and one really cool spy (I’m rolling with the Hollywood motif so jump on).”

Tick, tick, tick, tick…

Minute 2 – Follow your top line with two or three career accomplishments. “I led a fifteen person design team to make the exterior of the Death Star as ominous and sinister as possible, share a patent for a device that erases memories, and was Director of a forty person R&D laboratory that created cutting edge super spy gadgets for five different Bonds. James Bonds.”

Tick, tick, tick, tick…

Minute 3 – Bring it full circle to the company and position for which you are a interviewing. “I am very excited by the prospect of working at a company known for consistently raising the bar and investing in the kind of research and development necessary to bring your average Doomsday device from concept to Doomsday. I’m confident I can take lead on a groundbreaking, contemporary, yet futuristic, gauntlet that can not only harness the power of the Infinity Stones, but set a new standard for BLING.”

And the elevator doors open. Your time is up.

Write your Elevator Pitch. Edit it. Edit it again. When you have at a point that it is comfortable to you, rehearse it.

Some quick DO NOTS:

·      DO NOT go in cold.

·      DO NOT disclose personal information. It’s not relevant, and in many cases illegal for an employer to ask about it. Why offer?

·      DO NOT try and extend the conversation. Keep it short and effective.

·      DO NOT veer off message, which is why you should be hired.

A final word: Do not fall to pieces trying to create the “perfect” Elevator Pitch. Make it solid. Be prepared. Be your own groupie. With this formality out of the way, the rest of your interview should be a breeze as you’ve set the tone for conversation that follows.

Philip Roufail contributed to this article.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at, or via the website,