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30 Second Pitch

One of the keys to successful networking and interviewing is to make a really strong first impression, and one of the first opportunities to make this impression is very often the result of responding to the question “Tell me about yourself.” The answer: your personal pitch. It is essentially an overview of your experience, skills, strengths, accomplishments, and goals.

All in 30 seconds, you will use your 30-second pitch throughout your professional life. As a student, some of the situations where you are able to use it now are:

  • At an interview

  • In a cover letter—to highlight your background and key abilities

  • At professional networking events—when you are asked to introduce yourself

  • In cold-calling employers for an internship or future job.

  • When introducing yourself to a potential employer at a career fair.

The structure of a 30-second pitch generally follows this pattern:

  1. Introduce yourself, as appropriate.

  2. Discuss your experience. As a student, this would include your major field of study.  If you have practical experience in the field, you could include that as well.

  3. State a strength or skill the employer would be interested in.

  4. Follow that with an accomplishment (or two) that proves you have that skill. It can be related to school, work, a volunteer experience, an activity (like Eagle Scout), etc.

  5. Describe your employment goal—what are you looking for now and/or in the future?

  6. Most importantly, tell how you can immediately benefit the company.

Practice, practice, practice!!!

Your 30-second pitch should be conversational and natural. Although prepared in advance, it should never sound memorized. You want to appear confident, enthusiastic, poised, and professional. Make it memorable but not outrageous. You are competing with many other qualified candidates and your pitch should allow you to stand out a bit from the crowd. Whether it is the vocabulary you choose or a specific achievement you mention, you want to engage the listener and give them an opportunity to see your personality.

Be prepared for follow-up questions, especially in an interview. You may be asked for more information or to elaborate on something you said, which will keep the conversation going. Part of your strategy is to develop a rapport with the interviewer/employer and a good pitch and follow-up will help to set a positive tone. Vary your closing to fit the circumstances.

For an interview, focus on how you can benefit the company or how you fit the particular position. At a networking event or career fair, you want to be proactive and may want to consider an action question:

  • May I send you a resume?

  • May I have your business card and contact you …”

Questions to Think about in Developing your 30-Second Pitch

What is your career goal? (Usually in the form of doing something for someone)

What skill or strength do you have that would help you realize that goal?

What accomplishment proves you have that skill or strength?

What are you searching for in a job?

How can you immediately benefit the company/organization?

Here’s ONE example framework to get you started on your 30-second Pitch

Note: This is not the only way to frame your pitch!

Hello, [________], my name is [__________]. I am a [class year] here at [__________] majoring in __________. I am [strength, experience, etc.], which I demonstrated when I [accomplishment] and I think my experience in [what?] has equipped me to succeed as a [what position?] at [company or organization]. Could you please tell me about the characteristics of a successful entry-level [position] at your company? Now, write a draft of your 30-second elevator pitch.

Good luck!

Prof. Carl Boniface



Vocabulary builder:

Pitch (n) = a pitch can mean a field, arena, ground i.e., football ground, the actual area of play, where the game is played. In the context of the article, it means tone, highness, lowness, quality of sound, note, the actual words spoken by the person pitching. 

Internship (n) = residency, practicum, position, placement, job, medical training, medical school, training period, apprenticeship

Outrageous (adj) = disgraceful, shameful, shocking, offensive, contemptible, extreme

Stand out a bit from the crowd (idiom) = to be unusual in a good way. “As a teacher, he always stood out from the crowd.” Or “The high quality of these tools makes them stand out from the crowd.




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