Author Archives: bizcombuzz

Creating an Elevator Pitch

Instructors: A downloadable PDF of this exercise is available at the end of this post.

An elevator pitch is an integral part of the job search. It is a brief (60 seconds or less) persuasive speech that describes who you are and what you can offer an organization. An elevator pitch includes the following elements:

  • Your name and academic background (year, school, major/minor)
  • Your objectives and aspirations (what you want to accomplish)
  • Skills/characteristics that paint a picture of your suitability for a job (hard worker, creative team player, critical thinker, etc.)
  • Your potential value to a company (your skillset or a unique quality that would make you a valuable asset)
  • Request for suggestions, advice, or a meeting

Use the template below to create your own elevator pitch. Make sure you practice to ensure it is no longer than one minute.


Hi, my name is ______________and I am about to graduate from ______________with a major in ______________. Recently I  ______________ where I was able to develop skills such as ______________. I’m most confident about my skills in ______________. I’m inspired by the field (or position) of ______________because ______________. My ultimate aim is to ______________. I’m looking for a position in ______________. Do you have any suggestions or advice on how I can ______________?

Download the exercise here: Elevator Pitch Activity

What to Do if You’ve Been Ghosted After an Interview

You leave the interview feeling great—you had established rapport with the interviewer, she was impressed with your résumé, and she assured you that you’d hear from her soon. And then you wait. And wait. And wait.

You’ve been ghosted. If you have a reasonable justification for expecting to hear back from a recruiter after one or several interviews and do not, you have been ghosted. But take solace, because you’re not alone. A recent survey found that 75 percent of job seekers are ghosted after an interview.

Ghosting can occur for several reasons, all of which are outside the candidate’s control. A company may have decided to hire an in-house candidate, or it eliminated the position altogether. Perhaps the interviewer left the position or went on vacation. Sometimes the hiring process just takes longer than expected.

Candidates are not completely out in the cold, however, and experts offer advice about how to deal with not hearing back from an employer after an interview.

  • Ask for a hiring timeline during the interview.
  • Follow up after the interview with a message showing appreciation for the opportunity.
  • Wait four days after the hiring date before asking the hiring manager about the status of the position via text or phone call. Make it brief and include your name, date of interview, job title, enthusiasm for the position, and an offer to provide more information.
  • Check professional networking sites to learn about the status of the position.
  • Contact other individuals in the company with a polite message asking about next steps.
  • Practice interviewing techniques. It can be difficult to spring back after being ghosted, but rehearsing for interviews can remind you of your skills and abilities.
  • Move past the experience. Apply your efforts to the next opportunity rather than wallowing in the past.

Discussion

  1. What purpose(s) does a follow-up phone call or message serve after an interview?
  2. How can you prepare for the post-interview conversation so that you feel more comfortable and avoid gaffes?
  3. Why do experts advise against leaving more than one voicemail message requesting to hear about the status of a position?

Ending the Year on a High Note: Teaching the Elevator Pitch

One of the most valuable lessons we can teach our students is to concisely voice their qualifications for a position, often referred to as an elevator pitch. And what better time to provide this instruction than just before we release our charges from spring courses?

After learning about this important element of the job search, students will be able to confidently present their suitability as a potential hire. Below, we break this lesson into three parts.

1.  Class discussion and video (~15-20 minutes)

A. Define the elevator pitch: A brief (60 seconds or less) persuasive speech that describes who you are and what you can offer an organization.

B. Show videos of elevator pitches. These winners from the University of Northern Colorado’s Monfort College of Business are a good option, but your college’s career center may have its own. Ask students about their reactions to the pitches.

C. Open up a discussion, covering the points below.

      • An elevator pitch, like all business communication, is audience centered.
      • It can be used at networking events and job fairs or as well as during an interview for a specific position.
      • Its purpose is to explain an individual’s skills as they pertain to a particular field or organization.
      • Elevator pitches are written and rehearsed until they flow naturally.
      • They can be broken down into basic sections:
        • Name and academic background (year, school, major/minor)
        • What you want to do/accomplish (obtain entry-level position, internship, etc.)
        • Skills/characteristics that paint a picture of your suitability (hard worker, creative team player, critical thinker, etc.)
        • How you bring value to a company (how your skillset or a unique quality would make you a valuable asset)
        • Request for suggestions, advice, or a meeting

Here’s an example to share with your students that uses the above elements:

Hi, I’m Julio Fuentes, and I’m graduating from the University of California in Santa Barbara with a BS in Environmental Studies and a minor in business communication. I’m looking to be part of the solution to the effects of climate change by working for an organization committed to decarbonization. Recently I had an internship where I used my upbeat attitude, knowledge of environmental science, and ability to both lead and follow in a team setting to create decarbonization scenarios for a local manufacturer. I’m confident we can save the planet if we focus on the kinds of solutions I’ve studied as an undergraduate, and I’m looking for an entry level position in environmental compliance. Do you have any suggestions or advice on how I can break into this field?

2.  Assign an in-class activity followed by a small group discussion (~30-40 minutes)

Ask students to complete the Creating an Elevator Pitch handout found in this month’s BizComBuzz Classroom Exercise. Then break the class into groups of 4-5 and have students read their pitches to one another. You may wish to give the groups specific questions to answer (Does the pitch effectively describe your classmate? Did it provide valuable characteristics that would appeal to a hirer? and the like.)

2.  Bring the class back together for a recap (~5 minutes)

Review the learning objectives of the lesson. You may ask students to perfect their pitches for a grade by presenting them to the class as an oral presentation at a later date or by submitting them to you as a video.

Not only will students find this activity valuable—it’s a great way to tie up a semester’s worth of learning about business communication. Have fun!