The Way To The Top Can Start With An Elevator

Interviews. The dreaded experience we all have to go through in order to land a job. Everyone gets nervous, no matter how much experience they may have. Many people get so nervous that they often become tongue-tied and end up blowing the interview because they can’t express their thoughts or opinions. Colleges are looking for a way to fix that problem so you don’t find yourself in that situation. This is called an elevator speech.


What is it?

Now you may be thinking, what’s that? An elevator speech put simply is a way to market yourself but keeping it short and sweet and to the point. What you say should not take longer than an elevator ride, hence the origin of the name. Elevator speeches should be tailored to what your career goals are as well as what you can offer that company. They should be flexible enough so that you can suit the company’s current needs should they change.

Why should I make one?

Why not? What do you have to lose besides a couple of hours? Many schools hold competitions where the winner, the person who would be landing the job right away, walks away with a cash prize. The key to having a good speech is also to practice! You have to have it memorized but be comfortable enough with what is coming out of your mouth so that it doesn’t come across as super rehearsed and boring.

Where would you use it?

I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t this an obvious answer?” Well quite frankly, no, elevator speeches don’t have to take place in an elevator. Elevator speeches were originally used for sales representatives to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and the value it would serve them. They usually wanted funding of some sort so they took the opportunity to talk their product up every chance they got. The basic concept still remains though. They mainly come in handy at conventions, conferences, and other networking events. You never know if something you say about what you do will spark some random person’s interest and they end up helping you more than you could have imagined.

How do you write one?

There no set rules as to how one should be written or in what order. But make sure to include only the most important and relevant information. This is simply supposed to be a way to put yourself ahead of the competition as well as make a great first impression. If your elevator speech is impressive enough, you may get hired on the spot or at least be even further in the race to land the position. You want that person you are pitching to to want to get to know you better and to trust your knowledge and skills that you can bring to the table.

Quintessential Careers and Pepperdine University’s business school have great articles on preparing your elevator speech. Check them out below. Here are some useful YouTube videos from KForce and an elevator speech example.

Priscilla Curcino is an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida’s College of Business. She is studying management with a minor in international business and hopes to work for a major corporation after graduation.


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