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Career News | March 13, 2023

Why You Need an Elevator Speech

By DCAA Staff Writer

Have you ever been a situation where someone asks you, “tell us a little about yourself?” You can easily answer this question with your elevator speech.

What is an elevator speech?

An elevator speech is a short 30 second way of introducing yourself, getting a key point across, and making a connection with a person. It’s called an elevator speech because if you ride in an elevator, its about 30 seconds from entering to exiting. These speeches come in handy during a job interview or at a career fair.

 How do I create an elevator speech?

Elevators speeches answer the questions who am I, what do I do, and what is my ask. Weaving the answers together creates a cohesive, concise story of you.

  • Who am I? Create a tailored list of audience appropriate ways you describe yourself. For example, for a career fair you should focus on items such as your field of study, extra-curricular activities, work experience, and career aspirations. For example: My name is Sarah. I’m a sophomore at Penn State studying accounting. Last summer I interned at a local bank in the loan department and when I graduate, I’d like a position in corporate accounting.
  • What do I do? This is where you focus on an item or two you want the person to remember. Focus on the skills or items you are passionate about. Remember, you are trying to make a connection to the person and discussing your skills or values can create that connection. For example: When I interned at the bank, I realized how a small loan can enable a person or business to grow into a successful venture. I’d really like to work in a position where I can improve the lives of others.
  • What’s my ask? Ending with a question allows the person you are speaking with an opportunity to continue the discussion. It simply gives them a place to start the conversation. A question or ask also continues to demonstrate you are interested. The question can simply be to get contact information or ask about opening in the future. Back to our example with Sarah: I came to this career fair to learn about summer internships and wondered if your firm will have any and how I would apply.

Now what?

Now that you have the basics of what to include in your elevator speech, you need to practice giving it. Find a few friends and get their feedback. Check how long it takes to give your speech since it should be short. After a few refinements, you will be ready for that next event.