Why every college senior needs an elevator pitch

This short, simple statement can help you land a job.

Why every college senior needs an elevator pitch

Have a great answer to “so tell me about yourself,” every time.

During your job search you're bound to be asked to, “Tell me about yourself.” It is such a broad question that it seems like you can’t go wrong: You could tell the interviewer about where you grew up, where you went to high school, and all about your college extracurriculars and what you studied. That would be fine, but it is better to have a short, memorable answer that quickly summarizes who you are and your main skills. Enter the elevator pitch for college students.

It is helpful to have two different elevator pitches. The first is one that you can use at networking events that is more general and isn’t targeted to a particular company. The second is one that you can use during a job interview to sell why you are the person for the job.

A general elevator pitch

You’ll need to introduce yourself at all of the networking events you’ll go to now and after graduation. This elevator pitch still needs to explain who you are, your experiences so far, and your skills but you don’t need to match it up to a specific company and role. “When networking with employers at conferences or job fairs, it helps to have a prepared statement (your elevator pitch) that provides a summary of your academic and work-related accomplishments, skills, and strengths,” says Lori Cleymans, a career services specialist at the University of North Georgia.

You could say something like, “I’m a senior at Northwestern University. I’m majoring in journalism and am editor in chief of the school paper. I manage a team of 20 journalists and the online traffic has doubled since I became editor in September. After graduation, I hope to use my editing and reporting skills and understanding of both print and digital as a reporter at a newspaper.” This elevator pitch will be sure to impress people at industry networking events and informational interviews, regardless of whether you're pitching a specific company.

A specific elevator pitch

The second elevator pitch will use some of the components of your first pitch, but it is based on a specific job opportunity. “Students can start creating their elevator pitch by researching the employer; find out their mission, values, what services they provide or what they produce,” says Cleymans. “This will help you figure out what is important to the company so you know which skills and experiences to highlight. Think about a top accomplishment that demonstrates a desired skill for the job, or some skills that would be valued in the position.”

You could say something like, “I’m a senior at Northwestern University. I’m majoring in journalism and am editor in chief of the school paper. I manage a team of 20 journalists and the online traffic has doubled since I became editor in September. Now, I hope to use my editing and reporting skills and understanding of both print and digital as a reporter at The Washington Post. Before becoming editor, I covered student government and elections, which is what attracted me to the political reporter position.”

Know when to use it

Now that you’ve got your pitches prepared, know all the ways you can use your pitch. Deirdre Jones, director of the Edward Schmidt School of Professional Sales at The University of Toledo in the College of Business and Innovation recommends using it at networking events, informal gatherings, job interviews, and in your cover letter. You can use it whenever anyone asks, “What do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself.”

Find the right job

Could you use some help kick-starting your job search? Join Monster today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox so you can apply as soon as something catches your eye. Find a company that aligns with your core values and brings out the best in you.