The 30 second elevator pitch

Imagine you’re at a job fair filled with a thousand other jobseekers.

Whether it’s your first or your tenth fair, we know you’ve been working hard to find a job. You’ve become a master at applying for jobs, even cracking the hidden job market. You’re aware of the opportunities the job fair has to offer so you’re probably carrying a few resumes around with you.

As you walk through the crowd, someone bumps into you and knocks all your papers to the ground. Polite, the other person bends down to help. When you stand and see who the person is, you freeze. You could wait in line all day at the largest booth and not have the chance to speak to her, but by chance you bumped into one of the most sought-after hiring officers at the fair.

Reading your name on your resume, the woman says, “Oh, I’m sorry Bob. I see you’re here to get a job. Tell me about yourself.”

Take a deep breath. It might seem like the walls are closing in on you, but don’t panic. You’ve got this. You’ve been practicing your elevator pitch and know your value.

Why the 30 second elevator pitch is misunderstood 

It’s often felt the elevator pitch is only for sales people, but when you understand how to use one, you’ll realize it can work for anyone. The goal of the pitch isn’t to sell something outright, but to earn the opportunity to do so later. When it comes to your job search, the elevator pitch is your chance to earn an interview.

There are several places you might use one:

· Randomly meeting people
· Job fairs
· Cold calls
· Networking events
· Social media profiles

Pro Tip: Translating your elevator pitch to your social media profiles will show people your value..


The anatomy of an elevator pitch

To be successful with your elevator pitch, you want to follow several rules. Your pitch needs to be:


You want people to hire you. That’s why you need to keep your pitch exciting, just not so exciting it paints you as a superhero. Like any good story, you want to leave people wanting more.


You never know how long you have to speak so you want to be concise with your information. That means you need to omit where you live and whether you have three names, four kids, and five dogs. Get to the point so people can decide if they want to know more.


With only 30 seconds, you need to convey a lot of information quickly, but without getting winded. You want your audience to ask for more information out of curiosity, not confusion.


Just like you have to be concise, you need to be timely. Don’t spend most of your pitch going on about where you’ve worked or who you are. Control your timing so you convey your pitch with the right tempo.

Essentially you

Don’t sound like a robot when you relay your pitch. This is about you and the value you offer. Add a bit of your colour so people can get a feel for what you believe in.


Though it may pique their interest, exaggerating your value or accomplishments can be troublesome when someone asks for more information.

Necessary elements

Now that you understand how you should compile your pitch, here is the specific information you should add.

Who are you?

It isn’t just your name, but a greeting. It’s your opening line and it sets the tone for the conversation.

What do you do?

We all fall into defining what we do. I’m a plumber. I’m a machinist. I’m a construction worker. You want to be specific enough to show the industry you work in, but not so much as to block you from positions you may also be qualified for.

Pro Tip: Read your audience to determine if you can add humour.

What are your accomplishments?

Your accomplishments are important. They tell someone about your drive and ability to achieve your goals. It’s a good idea to list a few of your accomplishments so you can adjust your pitch depending on who you’re speaking to.

Pro Tip: Use numbers and be specific.

Pro Tip: Writing down your accomplishments will give you a morale boost.

What is your value Prop?

A person’s value prop is what an employer pays for. What sets you apart from all the other applicants at the job fair? When you can define that, you can show why you’re the best candidate for the job. This may be solicited like at a job fair or unsolicited like for a cold call, especially if they have no advertised openings.

Make it Pitch Perfect

Editing your pitch is going to take awhile. You want it to flow naturally, highlighting what you’re capable of and how you can add value to a company. Once you have a working copy then repeat it out loud. You need to memorize it and if you don’t feel comfortable speaking it aloud then adjust it until you can. If you only have thirty seconds to give your pitch, you don’t want to waste the first twenty with your mouth hanging open.

Once you’re comfortable with your pitch, you’ll see how often you use it; at a party, in a store, at the end of an interview. Your pitch may be your opening or your closing statement. It’s the answer to the inevitable question of why someone should hire you.

Belleville Office

Unit 8, 161 Bridge Street W. 
Belleville, ON K8P 1K2

Phone: 613-966-9069
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 613-966-7357

Marmora Office

10 Forsyth Street
Marmora, ON

Phone: 613-966-9069
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 613-966-7357