All networking and job search candidates should have an elevator speech ready to use in the event an opportunity to meet someone new presents itself.

The term elevator speech is derived from the concept that you should be able to briefly, concisely and articulately introduce yourself to another person in the time it takes to ride an elevator, usually 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Not only is the elevator speech useful in an actual elevator, but also at networking events, recruiting fairs and informational interviews. In addition, one of the first interview questions asked of applicants is often something similar to, “Tell me a little bit about yourself” and your elevator speech can be useful in this situation as well.

What to Include in Your Elevator Speech

The information you include may vary somewhat depending on the situation in which you use the elevator speech. Things to consider conveying include:

  • your major and graduation date
  • the skills you possess and your interests within your field

Other methods to use are:

  • where are you now? (major, expected graduation date and why you selected your particular major)
  • what have you done? (relevant courses taken, co-op or internship experience, pertinent work or volunteer experience)
  • where are you going? (what type of position interests you, why do you feel this company/position is a good fit for you)

Gain Confidence through Practice and Research

Many people are uncomfortable talking about themselves as they feel as though they are bragging. Consider that you are merely reporting what you have done and your past accomplishments. It is incumbent upon you to communicate this information. If you do not do it, who will?

You will want to practice your elevator speech so you will be able to easily communicate this information when asked. However, you do not want it to sound rehearsed.

A version of your elevator speech can be used in an interview setting as well. Typically an interview will begin with a question designed to relax the candidate by asking them to talk about themselves. As you describe yourself, you will want to highlight the skills you bring to the organization that are specific and relevant to the position you are seeking. You can expand on the information in your elevator speech by concluding with why you are interested in this particular position and company - information gleaned from your research of both the company and position.