Sooner or later, you’re sure to be asked the most popular (and dreaded) job interview question: "Tell me about yourself…"
To ace this question, it’s important to have an elevator pitch ready to go so you don’t end up rambling on about your life. By thinking through this question in advance, you’ll be prepared to highlight your skills and make a professional first impression that’s tailored to the role.
Let’s go through some tips for creating a spot-on elevator pitch that will make your next interview in English go smoothly.
What’s a job interview elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a 30-60 second (approximately 75 words) introduction that emphasizes your strengths to a potential employer. The original idea is that you can give the pitch in the time of an elevator ride to convince an interviewer or industry leader to pursue you.
4-step template for writing your elevator pitch
Let’s boil down the elevator pitch into four key steps, so that you can stand out from the crowd.
1. Who are you?
To get started, state your name and role. This is also the time to exchange pleasantries and thank the interviewer for this opportunity.
- My name is [name]. / I’m [name].
- It’s great to meet you. / It’s a pleasure to meet you.
- Thanks for meeting with me today. / I’m excited to sit down with you today.
2. What do you do?
Next, specify your specialty and experience. Here you’ll want to mention your specific work focus, interests, experiences, credentials, and more.
- I’m a [job role] with a special focus on [specialty].
- I’m passionate about [interest] for [specific type of client or industry].
- After graduating from [college] with a degree in [major], I’ve [experience].
- In addition to [years] of experience, I also have [credential].
- Interestingly, I have a background in [interest], which I integrate into my [daily work].
3. How well do you do it?
Now that the interviewer knows what you do, it’s time to showcase your top skills. This is the “bragging” section of the elevator pitch where you mention key results and statistics directly related to your work. In particular, consider your greatest challenges and how you overcame them.
- In my current position, I’ve successfully [result, i.e. managed, created, maximized, etc.].
- What’s more, I’ve navigated our team through [challenge] in order to accomplish [result].
- I’ve been on the front lines of overcoming [challenge], which I’ve achieved through [actions to get this result].
- Specifically, our company saw a [statistic] improvement in [area of result].
- I managed to transform our [product or team] in order to obtain cost savings and [other results].
4. What do you want?
Finally, wrap up your elevator pitch by stating your goals for this position. Leave your interviewer excited about what you could contribute to this role.
- I was excited to learn about this opportunity because [reason].
- My goal is to bring my [interest/experience] to this position.
- I know your company is keen to [goal], which I believe I can accomplish using my expertise in [specialty].
- Your work with [client] is well-aligned with the type of challenges I’d like to take on.
- I would love to keep in touch to learn more about [interest] with your company.
Tips for writing the perfect elevator pitch
After you’ve completed the first draft of your elevator pitch using this template, you can polish it with these pro tips.
1. Tailor your pitch to the company and role
Ensure that your elevator pitch makes sense for the role you’re applying to. All experiences, results and goals should be tailored towards the job description, so research the company and create direct ties to the role.
2. Use powerful verbs
Elevator pitches should always be to-the-point, with about 75 words. If you’re struggling to create a powerful pitch, consider your verbs carefully. Opt for high-action verbs that get to the heart of your best qualities.
Some great options include: achieve, build, earn, enable, enhance, establish, guide, implement, improve, initiate, invent, lead, manage, maximize, mitigate, motivate, promote, recover, shape, and unite.
3. Avoid industry jargon or impressive words you don’t typically use
At the same time, be cautious about using industry jargon or words that are aimed at impressing. This may take away from the sincerity of your pitch and trip you up if you’re not comfortable with the vocab. There’s nothing wrong with staying clear and direct.
4. Make it wow-worthy
Whenever possible, identify opportunities to make your wording pop. A clever example, a humorous comment, or simply some personality can go a long way to making your elevator pitch memorable.
5. Practice your pitch (a lot!)
Though you may start by writing out your pitch, you should spend a good deal of time practicing it aloud. Run through your pitch to your pet, or record yourself for several friends to give you feedback. Moreover, taking the time to role-play and do a few mock interviews is sure to help you gain confidence in your speech. So make sure you get a lot of practice in, so that you feel secure going into your next interview in English.
6. Test and tweak your pitch
Once you’ve tried out your pitch in real life, you should constantly update and tweak it. Observe what’s working well (and not) in interviews, so that you can hone your pitch until it’s even better than before.
Common mistakes when writing an elevator pitch
If you’re not getting the results you were hoping for with your pitch, it’s likely because of these common mistakes:
- Too long and dull. Keep your pitch short and sweet. If possible, spice it up with language that is friendly, honest –and even humorous!
- Unnatural or nervous sounding. Use plain language and slow your pitch down. You should aim to sound natural and confident.
- Unfit for the role. Know your audience before giving your elevator pitch. This means personalizing it according to the job description and predictable job interview questions.
- Impersonal. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and be genuine. So many elevator pitches are forgotten within minutes, so make yours stand out from the crowd by adding a little bit of yourself.
Get your dream job with your spot-on elevator pitch
Now that your elevator pitch is ready to go, it’s time to use it to get your dream job! Remember to be persistent and practice it often before your next interview in English.
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Preparing for your next technical interview? Ace the live coding challenge with our expert do’s and don’ts.