"Write an elevator speech for prospective employers" is an action-item that's dogged me for weeks. Perhaps this is the place to reach out and admit-- I've got a bad case of writer's block on this.

I know how to write an elevator speech for a company, a project, a product, a Six Sigma process improvement, a Web site a... you get the idea.

As a 30-second pitch to a potential employer, I can't get past the following:

Hi my name is Chris and I would like to work for Company A, especially because Reasons X, Y and Z. Here is my card.

My counselor wants this parsed into a static phrase. She yells at me every week about this. I feel there are too many variables to box me+my (alleged) career into a precise phrase. It makes more sense to have a framework (as above) then improvise based on the setting, person, timing...etc. right?

Still if I could get a simple phrase going? It would be one less thing a government bureaucrat has in her arsenal of things to yell at me about.

Not asking anyone to "write it for me" -- suggestions; ideas; guidance much appreciated. A fill-in-the-blank format would be great; like a mad-lib but for a freelancer looking for PT or FT work.

3 Answers 3


When you're looking for a job, you have (a) your skills, which is what you offer the company, and (b) your professional desires, which is what the company offers you. Examples:

  • A graphic designer who (a) can work in print and on the web wants to (b) get more experience in creating responsive websites.
  • A journalist who (a) has covered sports and local politics wants to (b) cover more breaking stories and wider regional events.
  • A basket-weaver who can (a) crank out handbaskets in four different materials wants to (b) get experience working underwater.

And so on.

So look over your résumé first. What can you do? What are your skills?

Then figure out what kind of job you want. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go in the next few years professionally? Where do you want to work?

Use the a+b formula and figure out some keywords. Which skills (a) keywords and which goals (b) keywords you use can then be flexible depending on the recipient of your pitch.

  • 1
    a+b. I can follow that - thx! credit given, thx @laurenipsum although im an a,a,a,a,a,a,a who can b,b,b,b & b that wants c (where c = a job). I need to settle on an a & b, so im hoping that 4 or 5 a+b TYPES will be acceptable to the state bureaucrat; if nothing it else it proves im working on it!
    – Tapper7
    Nov 15, 2015 at 4:34

Could you consider writing up what your dream job would look like? What kinds of activities would you do on your ideal day that could be seen as contributing to an organization? Then you could frame:

"Hi my name is Chris and I would like to work for Company A, especially because Reasons X, Y and Z. Here is my card."


"Hi, I'm Chris and love doing X,Y and Z. I believe I could really bring a lot of value to your company and solving problems A,B, and C. Let's talk sometime, okay?"

This way it is easier to specify what stuff you want to do, what kinds of challenges a company may have and be the hero! At least this would be my suggestion for a strategy.


Update. I went to a hiring fair for a large corporation, one that generously bestowed upon me a paid internship in tech (specifically, this was a massive ODBC conversion-move clients OFF the old system and onto our NEW system; one that, 15 years later is still being used. I built the systems, installed them, used any means possible to convert their customer DB to the one WE use (on the server-side it boils down to db2...as for software, this corp is in bed with Microsoft, another reason to keep their anonymity...)so in the late 90s I setup 1000s of Dell & Compaq desktops running windows 95. Norton Ghost was a slow but adequate way to set up 1 CPU and then deploy 100s of copies that vary only in windows key ID.

As "job interviews" go - the elevator speech was nearly irrelevant, but since I had about 30 seconds alone with the hiring mgr, I'll share with you a successful pitch. Note that this is how most "interviews" go when I actually get the job.

*Hiring mgr- so...chris I see that you've worked for us before.

me- yes, I really enjoyed it; I would never had left if I didn't have to go finish my degree.

Hiring mgr- well..we are glad you did, when can you start?*

As in every job I've ever gotten - it was political. This company KNOWS ME. There are countless people still there after all this time who vouched for me; w/o me asking.

rewriting my resume 1000x, interview-seminars (including all the bs "right-answers" to all those questions designed to trick you). Lectures on networking, SM and the new "trying to SEO each cover-letter & resume for each job to 'hack' the hr-site that sorts them." I told the EDD & DOR & Seminar people a million times that these ideas are good, but when a posting goes up for $10/hr for entry-level tech .... they get 1000 a resume's in the 1st hour, of which 10 meet the cut and perhaps 5 get to interview.

After all that? 9x out of 10 it's the guy they know they need; available to start right away whose files show he can be trusted.

Anyone who followed the mumbo-jumbo described above did not get the job that day. 1000s of online resumes were never even looked at. I showed up in person and took what I considered to be mine. They are happy to have me and I am humbled they took me back.

For all our bluster about tech, code, resume-optimization/customization and building mammoth profiles on SM to garner presumed respect/credibility all in pursuit of alleged "job opportunities." ...you know who gets jobs in tech? The guy the already know is fully-qualified. The guy they've seen in action. The guy who's associates head over to HR and say, "you gotta hire this guy...we need him." (whether they are supposed to or not).

The point is that getting a gig is a human process. With few exceptions (the ones that prove the rule) Human networking, in-person handshakes and ..as always..being in the right gd place at the right gd time is how to land it. Politics - if you hate that word-->call it Social Engineering.

I told that pestering bureacrat those exact words over and over -- all she ever did was ask if I'd been to the "Resume Hero" workshop at the UE office. F-that, I was never going to attend that, even at gunpoint. I added this answer as a wake-up call -- people give jobs to people they KNOW. This online-web-plastering thing is BS; a scam cooked up by whomever built Monster and all its dehumanizing iterations.

If you are on this site; you are a smart cookie. Be smart; ditch all the "modern tools" of your [bogus] "job search." Go to friends, family, associates, former employers, your alumni association, high-school & college friends, the guys you drink coffee in the morning w/ and the guys you drink beer with at night. Get over the shame of being UE and put it to them! Half probably owe you a favor anyway, right? It's almost 2016; from my corner of the world, anyone who wants a job can get one, but not by firing off online applications till you can't see straight everyday. It's zero-sum... "no-value-add" as we say in process-improvement.

Forget all these tiny components like "elevator speeches" -- logout of indeed, careerbuilder, linkedin, ihirequalitycontrol, code-whatever, monster, ziprecruiter, craigslist .... I know it's hard to do in tech, I like to talk to people about as much you...actually far less. I work with machines, systems, hardware, software, automation. I design and implement. I run qa/qc on new systems. I deploy 'em and train everyone how to use it. I don't work with people exxcept on the minimally-required level. I'm not a people-person. I'm no salesman - unfortunately when UE...I have to sell myself. I find/found "buyers" among the ranks of people who'd seen me in action. In the interview room (if I even get the interview) I'm uncomfortable, sweaty, panicked, harried, fidgety and bad making eye-contact. No one will hire that-guy; but they will if they know (or have a memo on their desk from someone who does) "this is the guy, make him an offer."

You can do it too in 2016. If I can anyone can. Close the laptop, put your coat on go get the job - check that - go take the job that everyone concerned knows is yours by right. Leave the online-resume-hacking to the hacks. You're legit - now go get it...bring your dreams, your a-game and your balls (don't forget your keys). much love and best wishes for a better 2016. -tap

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