If you’re a student with no professional experience, elevator pitches can seem daunting. After all, what are you going to talk about without substantial work experience?
The good news is that elevator pitches are not only doable for students – they’re essential. An elevator pitch gives potential employers an overview of who you are, what makes you unique, and why they should hire you.
In this article, we will explore elevator pitch examples for students with no experience so that they can start crafting their own perfect elevator pitch.
What Is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch (also known as an elevator speech) is a brief and compelling presentation you use to introduce yourself, your product, or your business. It’s designed to quickly convey the concept while arousing curiosity in who you are and/or what your product does.
It’s called an elevator pitch because it is delivered within the duration of an average elevator ride, or under a minute.
Elevator pitch is a common concept in major tech hubs such as Silicon Valley, where young entrepreneurs often try their chances to quickly introduce their promising startup ideas to busy investors.
However, elevator pitch is not only applicable to tech startups. It’s also a useful tool for students who want to introduce themselves and their skills to potential employers.
Why Does a Student Need to Know How to Do an Elevator Pitch?
There is a variety of reasons why students need to always be ready to deliver an elevator pitch and present themselves in the best light in a small amount of time.
- Job seeking – A student elevator pitch can be used to quickly introduce yourself and your skillset to recruiters at job fairs, interviews, and other networking events.
- College admissions – An elevator pitch can also be used to impress college admissions officers and show them why you’re the perfect candidate for their school.
- Scholarships – An elevator pitch can help you stand out when applying for scholarships, especially if you’re competing with many other qualified applicants.
- Project or business idea – If you have a project or business idea that you’re trying to pitch, elevator pitches can be an effective way to quickly explain what your concept is and why it’s worth investing in.
It is important to emphasize that students should be prepared to delived an elevator pitch at any time, as an opportunity where you meet someone incredibly important may arouse only once, such as at a chat following a lecture by a Nobel Laureate or another prominent figure.
Where You Can Use an Elevator Pitch
Sometimes you can plan when and where you will deliver your elevator speech and can thoroughly prepare for all aspects of your presentation.
Other times, however, you may have to act impromptu and deliver your elevator pitch without any preparation.
Some places you may find yourself delivering an elevator pitch include:
- An elevator – of course, this is where the elevator pitch got its name! Such unexpected opportunities usually occur in busy tech hubs, such as Silicon Valley.
- Job and internship interviews – you may often be asked a question along the lines of “so, tell me about yourself” on an interview, which is a perfect opportunity to deliver a concise, interesting story about yourself.
- Networking events – elevator pitches are a great way to introduce yourself and make connections quickly at networking events such as conferences, job fairs, and other events.
- A job fair – elevator pitches help you stand out from the crowd at a job fairand give you something to follow up with in emails.
- LinkedIn bio – a rather unconventional place to use your elevator pitch in a written format is your LinkedIn bio. It’s a perfect place to briefly introduce yourself to recruiters.
How Long Should an Elevator Pitch Be?
Let’s be pretty clear on this; your elevator pitch must be very short as to not bore or overwhelm the listener.
For most elevator pitches, a length of anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds is ideal. That amount of time is usually enough to introduce yourself, explain what you do or what your product does, and give your listener that big ask you intend to benefit from.
It is also crucial to pay attention to your word speed. Just because an elevator pitch is incredibly short, doesn’t mean you need to robotically squeeze an essay into that period of time.
Conversely, you should be slow and articulate to convey every word to your listener and help them remember you.
This elevator pitch should be an initiation of the conversation, rather than a script you want to race through.
How to Write an Elevator Pitch as a Student
If you are a student with no experience in writing or delivering elevator pitches, we will help you by providing step-by-step instructions on how to write your speech.
A good, engaging elevator pitch consists of the following consecutive parts:
- Short greeting and introduction – you should start your pitch by greeting the person and stating your name, where, and what you are studying.
- Hook – this is the most crucial part of your elevator pitch, and it’s where you need to provide a brief explanation of what makes you standout. It can be an impressive accomplishment, special circumstance, or interesting background detail.
- Accomplishments – here, you should provide a short list of accomplishments or qualifications that should convey your competence and win over the listener’s interest. It can be great GPA, internship at a renowned firm, or a research or personal project. Be specific!
- Aspirations – in this section, briefly explain what you are looking for or aspiring to do in the near future. You can talk about your wishes to become a machine learning engineer work in aerospace engineering, for example.
- Call to action – you should conclude your elevator pitch by briefly and confidently asking the listener what you are looking for. It can be a job, internship, or contact details for future correspondence.
Based on the instructions above, write an actual realistic 45-second elevator pitch by a student looking for a job offer from a potential recruiter
When done correctly, elevator pitches can be highly effective tools to introduce yourself and quickly establish credibility.
Students with no experience should focus on describing their accomplishments, qualifications, and aspirations to make a lasting impression. With practice, elevator pitches can become an invaluable tool for students of all levels to make connections and get closer to their goals.
What to Include in Your Elevator Pitch
There are certain elements that should and shouldn’t be included in every elevator pitch to ensure it is effective and convincing. Below are some of the key points you should include in your elevator pitch:
- Interesting projects
- Related passions
- Relevant experience
- Quantifiable results (raised $1,200 for an organization, hosted 3 annual hackathons)
- Extraordinary accomplishments (3.9 GPA, regional awards, won competitions)
For students with no experience, you should still be able to create a compelling elevator pitch by focusing on your passions, skills, and interests.
What NOT to Include in Your Elevator Pitch
Besides the things you should include in your pitch, there are things you should avoid crowding your speech with. These include things like:
- Your whole CV
- Minor projects (conference attendance, work with limited scope)
- Unnecessary details
- Hobbies and unrelated activities (unless you know the listener has them as your common interests)
- Exaggeration or fabrications of facts
By following the advice above, you can write a compelling elevator pitch even as a student with no experience. Be sure to practice and make the elevator pitch personalized for each listener.
How Do I Construct My Elevator Pitch as a Student with No Experience?
So, what should you do if you don’t have much relevant experience in the form of internships, full-time or part-time work, freelancing, or even volunteering?
Don’t worry. Most of the students pass through this stage before they get a chance to gain some form of experience.
If you are a student with no experience, it is important to focus on your passions, skills and interests. Instead of talking about internships and jobs, you should focus on what you have achieved.
Describe your accolades such as awards, scholarships, competitions won, research projects or any unique experiences that make you stand out. You can also talk about any skills or talents in the form of hobbies and activities related to your field.
Articulate your incredible passion for the field and your specific interests. Explain what inspired you and how you are looking to make a meaningful contribution in your field.
How to Practice Your Elevator Pitch
Writing down or preparing your elevator pitch is only part of the job. You only get 30-60 seconds to impress and become memorable for someone, so you have to make them perfect.
This comes with practice, and lots of it. You should repeat your speech with a timer until you are absolutely fluent and on time.
It also helps to practice doing mock pitches with a friend or family member to simulate the real situation and get actionable feedback.
You should repeat your practices every once in a while to keep your memory fresh and also before major events where you think you may need to present yourself.
How to Initiate an Elevator Pitch with Someone
After lots of preparation and practice, you may have your elevator pitch nailed down, but there may still be a problem with the initiation of the interaction.
After all, you wouldn’t just come up to someone and start unloading your history on them. You need to get their attention and soft approval first.
So how do you do that?
If you are in an interview or a job fair, things are a bit easier. You are given your chance and expected to start talking about yourself. No real initiation step is necessary.
However, if you are in an elevator with someone you admire and they are minding their own business, or you are at a networking event and would like to meet a certain person, you may need to ask for their permission to engage first.
For example, you could use the following prompts:
- “Excuse me, Professor XYZ. I really enjoyed your talk earlier at the conference. I’m a student trying to learn more about the field and would love to introduce myself, if you don’t mind. This will just take a minute…”
- “Hi, I’m an aspiring entrepreneur and I’ve been reading about your work for a while now. Do you mind if I introduce myself?”
- “I’m a student and admirer of your work. Can I introduce myself briefly?”
As long as you are polite and respectful, you will find that most people are willing to listen. Afterward, you can proceed with your elevator pitch.
Elevator Pitch Examples for Students with no Experience
Now that you have an idea of how to construct an elevator pitch for students with no experience, here are a few examples to get you started.
“Hello, my name is Sarah, and I’m a Marketing student at the University of California.
I like to think I can sell anything worth selling, be it a pen or an industrial pressure washer. I have a knack for understanding both the consumer and the company and building a bridge between them to guide them to each other.
Despite my lack of work experience, I have been actively seeking ways to gain hands-on experience in the industry. I have taken several courses in marketing research and analytics, and have also completed a marketing campaign for a local non-profit organization that helped increase their online visibility and reach a wider audience.
My aspiration is to use my marketing skills and knowledge to make a positive impact in the industry and I believe that working at [Company Name], a leader in [Industry Name], would provide me with the perfect opportunity to do so. I am eager to bring my creative thinking, attention to detail, and passion for marketing to your team.
I would love to discuss the possibility of joining your team further. Can we schedule a time to meet and talk about how I can contribute to [Company Name’s] success?”
“Hi, My name is Thomas. I am a former medical doctor and a career changer currently breaking into tech. I attend a Master’s degree in Computer Science for non-CS majors at UPenn since last year, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.
I am also working on a personal project building a prototype for a self-diagnosing ECG machine. My team consists of 2 doctors, including myself, and another engineer. We have already joined the most popular regional incubator-accelerator and started collecting patient data from two of the major hospitals in the city.
I also initiated a collaboration between the Neuropharmacology department at my previous employer at the University of Maryland and the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Lab to investigate how we can interpret research animal behavior under certain pharmacological substances of abuse.
I am an incredibly curious scientist and engineer and have numerous ideas I would like to kickstart. Would you like to help me get funding for my most recent project?”
“Good morning, my name is Peter and I’m an economics student at the University of New York.
For me, economics is more than just a discipline. It’s a way of living life. Economics means understanding the world and how decisions made by people can affect it. As such, I live my own life as if I’m an economist. I understand how my decisions can result in either positive or negative outcomes, and I constantly look for opportunities to make the smartest decision I can.
While I don’t have any direct work experience, I’ve been actively seeking ways to gain practical skills and knowledge in the industry. I’ve completed several economic research projects that have honed my analytical and problem-solving skills, including a case study on the economic impact of coal-mining in the Appalachian region. I have also been involved in a student-run investment club where I have gained valuable experience in financial analysis and portfolio management.
My ultimate goal is to use my skills and knowledge to make a positive impact in the field of economics and I believe that working at [Company Name] would be the perfect opportunity for me to do so. I’m eager to bring my enthusiasm, drive, and problem-solving skills to your team and contribute to your success.
I would love the opportunity to discuss further how I can contribute to [Company Name]. Can we schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss my qualifications in more detail?”
“Hi, my name is Maria. I’m an aspiring entrepreneur and recent graduate from the University of Toronto with a degree in Business Administration. I’m passionate about the environment and have been designing eco-friendly products for a while now. I recently built a prototype of an automatic plant water monitor that would alert you when your plants need water. I’m currently looking for a partner and investor to help me turn my idea into a reality.
I’m confident that this product has the potential to revolutionize our gardening experience. Do you know anyone who might be interested in investing or partnering with me? I’d love to share more details with you. “
“Hello, my name is David, and I’m a Computer Science student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with you about joining your team at [Company Name].
Did you know there is a way to predict elevator traffic patterns in a building? By leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence, I developed an elevator traffic prediction system that could significantly reduce wait times for elevator users. I’m confident this system could be applied to your elevator systems and would increase efficiency.
While I don’t have any direct work experience, I’ve been actively seeking ways to gain practical skills and experience in the field. I’ve participated in several hackathons where I have honed my coding skills and collaborated with teams to develop innovative solutions. I have also worked on personal projects, including a chatbot that helps users find local events and activities, that demonstrate my ability to apply my skills in a real-world setting.
I am confident that my knowledge and experience in this area will be a significant asset to your team. I believe I could make an immediate impact in this role and am eager to continue learning and developing my skills.
I would love the opportunity to discuss further how I can contribute to your team. Can we schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss my qualifications in more detail?”
Elmar Mammadov is a software developer, tech startup founder, and computer science career specialist. He is the founder of CS Careerline and a true career changer who has previously pursued careers in medicine and neuroscience.
Due to his interest in programming and years of past personal experience in coding, he decided to break into the tech industry by attending a Master’s in Computer Science for career changers at University of Pennsylvania. Elmar passionately writes and coaches about breaking into the tech industry and computer science in general.