Going Up: The Elevator Pitch

Career Blog

Published: August 21, 2018 by Evelyn Hudson

The elevator pitch or one-minute commercial is an essential tool to have in your back pocket when looking for a job. It’s perfect to use in so many situations—like on the elevator ride with a potential employer. A little thought and practice beforehand will give you an essential tool for networking and putting your best professional persona forward.

What to Say

An elevator pitch has four essential elements. First, your name, of course. Second, your educational background. Are you finished with your degree or still pursuing? Do you have any minors or concentrations? State this information here. Third, your career direction or specific interests. What type of library do you want to work in? Share your ideal work environment. Finally, what job you are seeking. Do you want to be a reference librarian or teen services librarian? Be specific in what you are looking for. You can also pepper your pitch with your past experience that shows why you are a good candidate for the position you are seeking, such as course work or internships. You can check out some great elevator pitch examples from the iSchool here.

What Not to Say

You don’t want to say too much. Your elevator pitch should not take more than one minute tops. You won’t have a stranger’s attention for too long, so make it short and sweet. In addition, it is not good to mention anything you would not say in a regular first interview, such as the salary you are looking for or how many interviews you have been on. The purpose of the elevator pitch is to hopefully nab that interview or get in contact with someone who can set it up. Talking numbers this early in the game will come across as unprofessional. Personal details should also not be included, such as your hobbies or interests outside work. This pitch should be purely professional.

When to Say It

There are so many opportunities to use your elevator pitch. During a networking event is the perfect time. When someone asks, “What do you do?” break out your pitch. It is also a great answer to the interview question “Tell me about yourself.” Any time you are interacting with people professionally is an opportunity to use your elevator pitch. You can also use your pitch online, such as when sending a LinkedIn connection request. Detailed messages in a connection request are more likely to be noticed and accepted—and your pitch is a great message.

What’s your elevator pitch? Share in the comments!


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Research Librarian (308182)     Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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Don’t forget to explore job openings outside of the public and/or academic libraries in Handshake. Consider searching on topics such as taxonomy, research, data management, digital asset management, and similar terms that may reflect your particular LIS skills or area of emphasis.

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