How to Stand Out in Seconds with An Effective Elevator Pitch

Posted by Ashley Jones
elevator pitch

Are you ready to make a lasting impression in a matter of seconds? Whether you’re attending a Cleared Job Fair, networking event, or making the most of an elevator ride with a professional prospect, having a well-crafted personal introduction at your disposal is crucial. Enter the elevator pitch – a succinct, compelling introduction you can call upon in a variety of professional scenarios to ensure you shine.

An elevator pitch is a concise summary of your skills, qualifications, and career goals, designed to leave a lasting impression on your listener within the span of an elevator ride – typically around 30 seconds.

It’s your opportunity to communicate who you are, what you do, and why you’re the ideal candidate for a particular role or opportunity. Think of it as your personal commercial. It’s your chance to showcase your unique value proposition and make a positive and memorable impression on potential employers or individuals you’d like to add to your professional network.

Consider these comprehensive tips to improve your professional introductions and leave lasting positive impressions that will move your cleared job search forward.

When to Use Your Elevator Pitch

Before we get to the meat of what needs to go in your elevator pitch, it’s important you understand they aren’t just for use in elevator rides. In fact, your elevator pitch can be used anytime you meet someone new or discuss your cleared career goals. Some places they commonly get used include:

Cleared Job Fairs

Cleared Job Fairs are one the best places to get a lot of use out of your elevator pitch. You’re in a room with dozens of new faces, all gathered to get to know you professionally. However, you’re not the only cleared job seeker employers will be meeting. So having an elevator pitch prepared will help you make the most of the few minutes you have with the recruiters and hiring managers in attendance.

“The first impression can’t be overstated,” says Ashley Testa, Director in the Government and Public Sector at BDO (and a frequent attendee at our Cleared Job Fairs). “That means making sure you’re dressing professionally, practicing a competent handshake, and having that compelling elevator pitch.”

Ashley Testa joined us on our Security Cleared Jobs: Who’s Hiring and How podcast to share tips about how cleared job seekers can excel at Cleared Job Fairs. When asked how job seekers can stand out, she said, “A good way a job seeker can achieve this is by creating a concise and compelling elevator pitch. It allows candidates to highlight their skills and experience and gives them an opportunity to express why they’re interested in joining a company.”

Networking Events

Elevator pitches are great for speaking with potential employers, but they’re useful when networking with other professionals and job seekers too. So whether you’re making conversation with another attendee at a Cleared Job Fair or you’re at a networking event, leverage your elevator pitch to help you introduce yourself and get to know other professionals in the community.

Networking events provide excellent opportunities to expand your professional circle. A well-crafted elevator pitch can initiate meaningful conversations, making you more memorable to potential connections. Just be sure to tailor your pitch to the event, focusing on what you can offer to others as well.


Ever wonder how to respond to the age old interview question, “tell me about yourself?” Your elevator pitch fits the bill! It’s a great foundation you can use to help you build a more robust answer to the question. Your elevator pitch can also be used during initial phone screen interviews, when recruiters are trying to quickly gauge if you’re a suitable candidate.

The Opportunities are Endless

Your elevator pitch can also be adapted for your professional online profiles. A concise, engaging summary can grab the attention of recruiters browsing online platforms like LinkedIn.

With a little tweaking, your elevator pitch can be used just about anywhere. From job fairs to networking events, professional conferences to bootcamps, or conversations with career coaches to recruiters and colleagues, your elevator pitch is at your disposal to help you break the ice and introduce yourself without breaking a sweat.

Crafting Your Elevator Pitch Step-by-Step

So now that you know all the opportunities you’ll have to whip out your handy elevator pitch, let’s make sure it’s in working order. Keep these tips in mind:

1. Get Right to the Point: Your elevator pitch should be about five sentences or less, so get right to the point and introduce yourself. Boil it down to the essentials that quickly summarize who you are, what you do, and why you’re great at what you do.

2. Highlight Your Unique Selling Points: Identify your key skills, achievements, and qualifications. What sets you apart from others? Focus on your most impressive accomplishments and how they can benefit your listener.

3. Express Your Career Goals: Briefly mention your career objectives, indicating what you’re looking for in your next opportunity. This helps your listener understand your aspirations and how they can help, or hopefully, hire you.

4. Know Your Audience: Tailor your pitch to the specific audience you’re addressing. For instance, include your security clearance when talking with employers at Cleared Job Fairs. Ditch jargon and industry lingo your listener might not understand. And if you have the opportunity to know which employers or people you’ll be meeting with, do your homework so you can align your pitch to their specific needs and interests.

5. Practice, Refine, Repeat: Practice your pitch until it flows naturally and you’re able to customize and adapt it as necessary. Seek feedback from mentors or friends to refine your delivery. But most importantly, use it often so it becomes second nature.

Example Elevator Pitches

Consider the following elevator pitches for ideas to help you create your own. Think of these like a master resume – a version that has everything you might need, but is ready to be tailored down to fit a specific role or situation.

Experienced Software Engineer

“Hello, I’m Alex, a seasoned software engineer with a TS/SCI clearance, with over a decade of hands-on experience in full-stack development. I’ve successfully led high-performing teams through complex projects, resulting in innovative software solutions that have streamlined processes and enhanced user experiences. My expertise lies in languages such as Python and Java, and I have a proven track record of designing and implementing scalable and efficient code architectures. I am particularly passionate about integrating emerging technologies like AI and machine learning into software applications. I’m currently exploring opportunities where I can leverage my expertise to drive cutting-edge software development and contribute to a forward-thinking tech team.”

Entry-Level Cybersecurity Professional

“Hi there, I’m Emily, a cybersecurity professional eager to dive into the world of security. I hold a degree in cybersecurity and have hands-on experience with network security protocols, vulnerability assessments, and ethical hacking techniques. During my academic journey, I actively participated in cybersecurity competitions, enhancing my skills in threat detection and incident response. I am committed to staying updated with the latest cybersecurity trends and best practices. My goal is to secure an entry-level position in cybersecurity, where I can apply my knowledge, learn from seasoned professionals, and contribute to strengthening digital defenses against cyber threats.”

Transitioning Military Job Seeker

“Greetings, I’m Michael, a Marine with a secret clearance, and a background in logistics and supply chain management. Over the past six years in the military, I have successfully orchestrated large-scale logistics operations, ensuring timely and efficient distribution of resources in high-pressure environments. My expertise includes inventory management, transportation coordination, and strategic planning. I have a proven track record of optimizing supply chains and improving overall operational efficiency. As I prepare to transition out of the military in six months, I am actively seeking opportunities in the civilian sector where my logistics expertise and leadership skills can make a significant impact. I am particularly interested in roles within logistics management, supply chain analysis, or operations management, where I can continue to deliver results and contribute to organizational success.”

Mastering the Art of the Elevator Pitch

In the competitive landscape of job search, a compelling elevator pitch can be the key to opening doors and creating lasting connections. By understanding the basics of a great elevator pitch, identifying the right moments to use it, and crafting a pitch that resonates with your audience, you can significantly enhance your chances of making a powerful impact.

Remember, an effective elevator pitch is not just a script, but a reflection of your expertise and enthusiasm. Tailor it for different situations, practice it until it feels natural, and watch as it becomes your secret weapon, propelling you towards new opportunities and professional success. So go ahead, craft your perfect elevator pitch and get ready to leave a lasting impression on everyone you meet in your professional journey.


  • Ashley Jones

    Ashley Jones is ClearedJobs.Net's blog Editor and a cleared job search expert, dedicated to helping security-cleared job seekers and employers navigate job search and recruitment challenges. With in-depth experience assisting cleared job seekers and transitioning military personnel at in-person and virtual Cleared Job Fairs and military base hiring events, Ashley has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the cleared community. She is also the Editor of ClearedJobs.Net's job search podcast, Security Cleared Jobs: Who's Hiring & How.

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 23, 2023 2:00 pm

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