Elevator Speech Prep Sheet: The 30-Second Introduction

When preparing for a job interview, candidates should be equipped with a 30-second “elevator speech” to promote themselves to prospective employers.

What is an “elevator speech”?

The term “elevator speech” comes from the idea that people should be able to describe their main strengths quickly and persuasively to someone during a chance meeting in an elevator ride between floors.

The elevator speech is a perfect response for the statement, “Tell me about yourself.”

During a job interview, employee recruiters report that job candidates are often unprepared to respond to this statement and miss this opportunity to make a good impression. The speech can also be used when meeting recruiters during job fairs or at social events that provide professional networking opportunities. 

Crafting a specific, concise elevator speech should be part of all job seekers’ career search strategies, and basic steps can be followed when considering what information should be included. 

1. Think about the main benefit(s) you can bring to the employer. 

  • Research the company’s job description/advertisement. List the main strengths you have for the position that match the qualities they are seeking.
  • List some strong examples of how you have solved problems for past employers.  

2.  Who am I? What do I offer? What problem(s) can I solve? What contributions can I make? Include a call for action.

  • When constructing the speech, first start with an attention getter in a few words. Second, tell who you are and what you do.
  • Third, give a snapshot of your career. Try emphasizing one or more of the following: Discuss the special service or solutions you can offer. Give an example of your best qualities by telling a brief story about something you’ve accomplished. Answer the key question of the listener: What’s in it for me (the employer)?
  • Involve the person you are speaking to by asking an open-ended question (a question that can't be answered with a "yes" or "no" answer). You might ask: "So, what tools does your organization use to measure client satisfaction?"
  • Fourth, to conclude, ask for a response: A business card? A referral? An interview?

3. Fine tune the speech.

  • After creating a tentative draft of your elevator speech, look for ways to make it more concise and focused.
  • Cut out unnecessary words and change jargon into more understandable language.
  • Make each sentence powerful and meaningful.
  • The sentences should flow together smoothly. The goal is for the speech to use a conversational tone.

4. Practice.

  • Once the speech is written, memorize the key points. Repeat the speech out loud until it feels comfortable and sounds natural.
  • Time the speech as you say it to make sure it lasts between 30 seconds and 1 minute for a real-life speech (2 to 3 minutes for class assignment).
  • Rehearse with a real person to get opinions on the content and how you impress them. Be open to making revisions and changing the delivery as needed.

5. Delivery.

  • Smile. Be enthusiastic.
  • Don’t rush. Show passion for the job/industry.

6. Target the speech to the occasion.

  • Create different versions for different audiences/purposes (an employer, CEO, etc.) not your actual audience (classmates). If your speech is for a class, present it as if it were your hypothetical audience.

Sample elevator speeches:

At a job fair:

Hi, I’m Tanya. I’m working on an Associate of Science in occupational therapy at Baker College of Muskegon and plan to graduate this May. My focus is helping the elderly population function in their daily living skills, and I have experience in the health care industry working with Alzheimer’s patients. I’m excited that I recently won the Baker College student of the month award for developing a new technique that helps patients eat without spilling. I hear that your organization is seeking top-qualified candidates in occupational therapy. Would you have time to meet with me to talk about how I could become part of your team? Here is my business card if you would like to contact me.

At a chance meeting:

Hello. I see (from a name tag) you own ABC Accounting Company. Coincidently, I’m an accounting student at Baker College of Muskegon majoring in tax preparation. In my research I’ve found that many accounting firms are having a hard time finding qualified employees around tax season. Are you in that situation? (If the answer is “yes”): I recently completed an internship with H & R Block, so I am ready to help you meet that need. (If the answer is “no”): Well, I recently completed an internship with H & R Block, and I’m really eager to put my new skills to work. Perhaps you know of others in the field who may need help. Could I call or e-mail you for some possible contacts?

At a job interview:

Interviewer: “I see from your resume that you are a chocolatier. Tell me about that.”

Your response: I’m sure you’ve seen bunnies and chicks made of chocolate around Easter time. As a professional chocolatier, I create works of art out of chocolate. Recently, my colorful rendition of an underwater scene from the animated Disney movie Nemo was chosen from 30 entrants to be displayed at the mayor’s dinner. I’m very excited about the opportunity to awe the passengers of your cruise ships with beautiful and delicious desserts, so they will want to come back and will spread the word to others.  

Elevator Speech Worksheet


Who am I? Grab the listener’s attention.

Introduce yourself by sharing your name, the school you attend, and your academic program. If you have graduated and are working, give the name of your current place of employment.


What are my strengths? What makes me unique? 

Mention qualities you possess that are unique and would be meaningful to the employer. This is also a place to talk about relevant accomplishments.

What is my passion?

Expressing your passion for your job or career field will leave a lasting impression on the listener. Why are you targeting this type of work? What do you like about it or find interesting? Why do you care? 

What is my objective?

This lets employers know what you are looking for: an internship, summer job, part-time or full-time position. Do not be demanding but be straightforward about looking for a job.


Ask for a response. (business card, referral, interview, etc.)

Elevator Speech Template

Using the components above, create your elevator speech: 

Hello. My name is __________________ and I am currently (attending, enrolled in, working at) _________________. My ___________________ makes me unique and my __________________________ (specific experience, knowledge, etc.) will bring value to your organization. I am passionate about _______________________. My goal is to ______________________. May I ___________________ (have your business card; meet with you; etc.)? 


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