Creating a Great Elevator Speech


February 4, 2013 by culverhousecareers

The Career Fairs are in two weeks people. If you read last semester’s post of recruiter feedback, you’ll recall that they said one of the biggest ways students could improve at Career Fairs was by having something to say when they approached their booth. One of the most effective ways to strike up a valuable conversation in this kind of situation is with an elevator speech.

An elevator speech is a 15-90 second summation of who you are, what you do and what you would like to do for someone else (in this case, the recruiting company). It gets its name from the idea that you could meet the CEO of the company you dream of working for in an elevator, and that you need to be prepared to quickly and effectively communicate to that person why they should continue the conversation once the elevator stops.

Recruiters see hundreds of potential employees at events like the Career Fair. A strong introduction can be what moves you from the booth in the Bryant Conference Center to their office for an interview. This is an outstanding tool from Harvard to help you get started, and here are a few more tips to help you create a great elevator speech and make a great impression.


What can YOU do for this company that the girl behind you in line can’t? What makes YOU the perfect person for the job? You have to be explicit about why you, and only you, are the perfect person for them to hire. You have to be honest with yourself about what your strengths and weaknesses are and how you can use them.


This isn’t about how much you would love to work for Whole Foods because you love their selection of gluten-free products. This is about what you are going to do to make their company better. Obviously, since you only have about a minute, you don’t need a master plan or to pull out a spread sheet of financials. But you do need to include how you will use your skills to make their company better in some way.


You’re going to get nervous. Don’t have bullet points on your hand or in your head. Memorize every word your speech and practice it a thousand times. And really think about the words you are saying, so if you do need to deviate from the script a little, it’s no big deal.


The last thing you want to do is finish your elevator speech and just look at the other person. “Okay, I’m done,” is not a good conversation starter. End your elevator speech with a question or statement that probes for more information about the job, the department you’re interested in or anything else about the company that might be relevant.


With all this said, remember to be natural and be yourself. A perfectly crafted elevator speech will mean nothing if you can’t respond to questions about it in a way that shows you really meant what you said. Remember when you’re writing this that you are going to be talking to a real person, not filming a commercial. Don’t use any language you wouldn’t in normal professional conversation. (I.e. Don’t use the thesaurus on Microsoft Word to try to find “smart-sounding” words that you never use.)

Schedule your pre-Career Fair appointment with us now! We will get busier and busier as it gets closer, so don’t put it off. Call us at 205-348-2691 or stop by the office in 250 Bidgood. 

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2 thoughts on “Creating a Great Elevator Speech

  1. [...] said these skills include composing a specialized résumé, having an effective “elevator speech,” self-promotion and all-around [...]

  2. [...] presented your prospective employer with a killer résumé, nailed your elevator speech and answered the interview in a manner that would impress Donald Trump. You’re certain the job [...]

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