Your elevator pitch is a quick statement selling yourself.
Theoretically it could be used if you happen to unexpectedly find yourself
alone in an elevator with THE key person who could make your career, but that’s
not very realistic.
More often, your elevator pitch is used in an email
introduction, as part of your cover letter, during an interview (in response to
a question such as why should we hire you?), or in a conversation with a
recruiter at a career fair. In just a few sentences, the elevator pitch should highlight
a strong interest in the opportunity and the
skills that are most important to being an attractive candidate and successful
on the job. For entry level and early
career positions, your elevator pitch should highlight at least 3 of the
Elements of a Good Story: Industry Relevance, Communication Skills,
Leadership, Problem Solving, Expertise, Pedigree, and Impact.
STUDENT WITH RELEVANT FINANCE EXPERIENCE
I’ve been serious about the markets since my freshman year. For the past two years I have been closely following the financial news, meeting with alums on the Street to understand their jobs, and assuming growing amounts of responsibility within our school’s investment club. I am currently the Chief Investment Officer for the school's $115K student-run fund. I spent last summer on the buy side at Wall Street Global Advisors on the trading floor with the trader who managed the biggest accounts. I also manage my own money, trading a longshore equity account of $35K that so far has generated a 40% return. Elevator pitch could conclude with an Ask (e.g. I enjoyed meeting you at the recruiting event last night and hope to be invited to on-campus interviews in a few weeks)
Why This Works
I’m convinced that you actually understand something about this industry. You gave me specific examples that demonstrate a sustained interest in finance (INDUSTRY RELEVANCE). You have practical experience through an internship (INDUSTRY RELEVANCE and PEDIGREE), dedicate extra-curricular time to deepening your knowledge, and better yet, have committed your own capital with impressive results (EXPERTISE and IMPACT).
Non-core* Recruiting School
I’ve been serious about the markets since my freshman year. For the past two years I have been closely following the financial news, meeting with alums on the Street to understand their jobs, and assuming growing amounts of responsibility within our school’s investment club. I am the top student in the Finance department at my state college, and although I am not at a core school, last summer I managed to secure a highly competitive internship on the buy side at Top Growth Capital, a $300 million fund, with the trader who managed the biggest accounts. I was the first intern in 5 years to receive an offer to return, but am more interested in pursuing a sell-side opportunity on the trading floor of an investment bank. Elevator pitch could conclude with an appropriate Ask (e.g. I would love to schedule a time to talk about my candidacy and see if I can participate in your recruiting process.)
Why this works
If you’re not from a core school, you need to communicate that you’re exceptional for them to consider you. A top student in a relevant major from a large school, with a competitive and successful internship experience communicates INDUSTRY RELEVANT skills, EXPERTISE, IMPACT, and LEADERSHIP.
* a non-core school is a school from which the bank does not proactively recruit
STUDENT WITH NO RELEVANT FINANCE EXPERIENCE
I am a Division I scholarship athlete and was voted team captain. Despite a heavy practice and travel schedule, I have maintained a 3.6 GPA as an Economics and East Asian Studies double major. I became involved in my fraternity’s Big Brother program as a freshman and thought we could do much more, so I spearheaded an initiative that grew the percentage of fraternity members actively participating from 20% to nearly 60%. Last year I pitched the program to five other Greek organizations and we now have over 200 Big Brothers and Sisters, and it is the most popular social service program on campus. Elevator pitch could begin or conclude with an appropriate Ask (e.g. I have a few questions about different career paths in an investment bank and would love to schedule 10 minutes of your time to talk to you about < area of the bank>)
Why this works
Outside of some economics courses, this candidate does not have any relevant work experience, but he effectively communicates a number of the skills that banks look for in attractive candidates: IMPACT, LEADERSHIP and COMMUNICATION SKILLS. If invited to interview, he will need to demonstrate that he has done his research and understands the job, key industry trends, and the particular strengths of the company he’s interviewing with.
Other useful advice for college students applying to investment banks: