How to Craft Your Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief and persuasive sales pitch, something you could start and close during the duration of an elevator ride. You can use elevator pitches for all sorts of things, like your flashy startup idea or your new dog walking business, but in our bootcamps, we focus on people’s personal elevator pitches. These are the 30 second answers to the dreaded question… “so, tell me a little bit about yourself.”

Crafting your Elevator pitch.

So, how do you distill your entire glorious existence into 30 short seconds? The answer is…you don’t! You have to figure out the purpose of your pitch, and at Grand Circus,  it’s to get you a job. That means it doesn’t much matter to include your favorite Detroit beer shop, or how many kids you have. Let’s get to the meat of it – who are you, what’s your immediate goal, and what do you want from me?

one. Who Are You?
If you’re introducing yourself for the first time, start with your name. If the person you’re talking to already knows your name, jump right into your 1 sentence summary.Keep it concise! 

I’m a new Java developer.

two. What’s Your Immediate Goal?
At Grand Circus, we’re helping people find work, so our goals are usually catered toward finding jobs. Add on to your summary sentence with your goal.

I’m a new Java developer looking for work in the city of Detroit.

Now…that’s a good start, but that’s only one sentence. Why the heck should I give you a job as a developer in Detroit? It’s time for a few more details. Talk about what makes your immediate goal possible in 3 to 4 sentences. Maybe you just graduated a coding bootcamp. Maybe you’ve worked in tech before. If you’re a career changer, remember that your last job has loads of transferable skills. Focus on the skills, not the title of the job you left.

I’m a new Java developer looking for work in the city of Detroit. I recently graduated from an intensive Java Bootcamp, but before that I worked as a product manager in {insert industry}. I’ve loved that I can apply my problem solving skills from Company X to coding.

three. What Do You Want From Me?
Now – time for the closer! Don’t just let your killer elevator pitch fall flat with an awkward “yeah, I guess that’s about it” as your ending sentence. Address your speaker with a specific ask. Maybe you’re at a meetup and want to contribute more to the tech community. Maybe you’re in an interview, and you want to showcase how well you understand the company culture. Close your pitch with something that forces the listener to respond.

I’m a new Java developer looking for work in the city of Detroit. I recently graduated from an intensive Java Bootcamp, but before that I worked as a product manager in {insert industry}. I’ve loved that I can apply my problem solving skills from Company X to coding. I’m really interested in using my new skills to give back to the community, which is what drew me to your company. I saw on your website that you do quarterly coding lessons for Detroit Public Schools. How quickly can I be involved in that if I were to join your company? 

Ready to craft your elevator pitch? Remember, elevator pitches are all about showing your personality and interests in a way that forces the listener to respond to you. Start with these three pieces of advice and then practice, practice, practice! Say your elevator pitch to people who are honest enough with you to give great feedback. Good luck out there!

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Kim Driscoll

Things I love: singing, Detroit, buffets. Things I don't love: writing bios.