Skip to main content

Pitching Oneself: Elevator Speeches


You are almost at the elevator when you see him.There he was, Mr. Bigshot, the vice president of XYZ company that you have always wanted to work for, riding the elevator with you!! HE sees you and asks ” Going up?” You nervously nod but then what!!!!! Would you prefer an awkward 30sec silence ride or will you try to make the most out of it by pitching yourself in a hope to get hired for your dream job. You know you have to pitch yourself in the most interesting and best way possible because this might be your CHANCE, especially, if you are job-hunting. Hence, comes in elevator speeches.

What is an elevator speech?– A clear concise speech to “advertise” oneself during the duration of an elevator ride aka 30secs. It should have a synopsis of one’s background, experience, what they are looking for and how can one benefit the organization/potential employer.

The structure of an Elevator Speech:

(a) Open up with a statement or question that grabs attention– the hook that prompts your listener to ask questions

(b) Introduce yourself– who you are, what you do– show that ENTHUSIASM!

(c) Your skills– Use a VIVID EXAMPLE to demonstrate your problem-solving ability with your skills during your experience or contributions you might have made. Link this to how that makes you interested in the listener.

(d) Benefits to the Prospective Employer– Why should the employer hire you? What special service, product, solutions can you offer to the organization? Creating a scenario as an example always boosts the point and proves very effective.

(e) End with an action with future communications in mind providing a  business card (most likely) or setting up an appointment for your presentation.


(a)Brief- 30 secs speech, 8-10 short sentences

(b)Persuasive- should spark the listener’s interest and attention

(c) Share your skills- focusing on the assets

(d) Mention your Goals

(e) Be Enthusiastic!

(f) Rehearse Rehearse Rehearse to fine tune your speech!

(g) The 8 CsConcise, Clear, Credible, Compelling, Concrete, Conversational, Customized, Conceptual

(h) Know your Audience- is it in an elevator, job-fair, conference

(i) Have a Business Card ready


(a) Do not speak too fast

(b) Avoid Rambling

(c) Do not speak in a monotonous tone

(d) Avoid jargon

(e) Do not restrict to a single structure elevator speech

Importance: Elevator Speech is a tool that keeps you ready at pitching yourself during elevator rides, job and career fairs, conferences, networking event or even while you are on a vacation at Prague (you never know…). First impressions can go a long way. Sometimes actual interview tends to ask you to pitch yourself in 1-2 minutes before the interviewers continue with other questions. An Elevator Pitching is vital to succeed in the world of work.

Hence, let’s work on preparing an elevator pitch for ourselves by the next month!

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Bidisha (Eshaani) Mitra

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology researching on Hepatitis B virus and innate immunity