Employer insight: ‘What we want from your Elevator Pitch’

Managers from the international finance company Goldman Sachs recently visited Middlesex University to help students perfect the ultimate Elevator Pitch. Here’s what they had to say:


What’s an elevator pitch?

Your elevator pitch is a short statement you’d say when you want to convince a recruiter to hire you, but you don’t have much time. It’s a brief sound-bite introducing you and describing your background. It should outline your relevant experience, achievements, skills and career goals in a way that really sells the benefits of hiring you.


Why is it called an ‘elevator pitch’?

The name suggests you have someone’s attention while sharing an elevator, but it’s far more likely you’ll use your pitch when asked ‘Tell me about yourself’ in an interview, when networking with recruiters at a jobs fair, or when phoning an employer to enquire about their vacancy.


5 tips from Goldman Sachs

1. Prepare and practice your pitch. Know your pitch well, because at some point you are definitely going to need it.

2. Make a note of 5 or 6 key points you want to get across. That way, if you’re interrupted you can still get back on track. You might find this easier than trying to memorise a whole script.

2½. If you’re not sure what your key points should be, think about the things you want them to remember about you.

3. Get your point across quickly. Time is not on your side. You might only have a minute or two, so be aware of time.

4. Build rapport with your interviewer. Try to make a connection with the person you’re giving the pitch to. Be friendly and try to show that you have something in common.

5. Show passion. Make a good impression by showing what you care about and what you’ve achieved.


5 tips from MDXWorks

1. Read the job description, or research roles you are interested in, so that you know which skills are required. These are the skills you should talk about in your pitch.

2. Try to focus on recent achievements rather than things you did a long time ago.

3. Don’t just list your skills. Give brief examples of how you’ve used your skills to achieve something.

4. Mention relevant extra-curricular achievements or interests if you don’t have much work experience. You could talk about club or society membership or academic studies and projects.

5. Try to be different from other candidates. Think about your own Unique Selling Points (USPs) that set you apart.


Things to avoid

Asking ‘What do you want to know about me?’ Be better prepared for next time. This should be the easiest subject in the world to talk about: Yourself.

Speed-dating. You ’re talking about things you like to do at the weekend, like going for walks and bingeing on box-sets. If it’s not relevant, leave it out of your pitch. Stick to your key points.

Saying ‘umm’. You don’t have time for ‘umm’! If you forget what you were going to say then move on to your next key point. Practice more for next time.

Being boring. Be more interesting by varying your tone of voice to emphasise key points. Avoid using technical jargon or talking about complex processes. Make good eye contact and break out your least-creepy smile.

Referring to yourself as ‘we’. You’re talking about the team or the company you worked for, rather than talking about yourself. Say ‘I’ more than ‘we’ or ‘they’, otherwise ‘they’ might get the job offer!

Talking too quickly. This usually happens because you’re nervous or you’ve got lots you want to say. Be aware, they won’t take it in unless you sloooow doooown. Aim for quality, not quantity. Try breathing occasionally.


Need more help?

If you’re a current MDX student or recent graduate, you can use the MDX Elevator Pitch Builder to help you craft your pitch (you’ll need to login using your MDX email and password). If you’d like an opportunity to practise your Elevator Pitch and receive some constructive feedback, get in touch with MDXWorks.


By Matt Lewis, MDXWorks On-Campus / Online, Middlesex University


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