Do you have your elevator pitch prepared?

Are you ready to give your elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is necessary for every college student, regardless of major. Elevator pitches, like the name implies, are prepared, 20 second “pitches” that you would give to an executive if you happen to run into them in an elevator and want to land a job within the time it takes to reach your floor. So, while this exact situation is not likely to happen, you actually use elevator pitches more than you think. Therefore, it’s important to have one prepared so you are ready when you need to pitch.

Your major. One of the most basic and standard questions someone will ask you is what is your major. However, rather than just spouting off the title or emphasis area, you might want to throw in what you hope to do with your major because 99% of the time that will be their follow up question.

What made you become interested in that major? You will occasionally get this very deep and insightful question. Rather than saying something like, “Since I was two I always liked to draw, and now I am studying art,” you might want to turn up the “greater meaning” behind your major, such as the expression of your inner feelings and how you hope to help or add to society through your major.

What were some of your past jobs/positions? Rather than just spouting off some title, you want to include your insight and experience associated with the position you decide to include in your pitch. Keep in mind, no matter how small or insignificant that job might have seemed, there is something you learned or gained from it. For example, in the year I worked as a drive thru cashier at fast-food Taco restaurant, I learned about the importance of teamwork and efficient communication.

Your aspirations. As you get closer to your degree people start asking this question a lot more, and they ask it in different ways such as, “How do you stay motivated?” or “What do you hope to accomplish?”. This one definitely takes some soul searching, so you need to ask yourself this question early. There is certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach to this topic, but you can look to your family, role models, past experiences, and life-changing circumstances for guidance. For example, I personally find motivation in being the oldest sibling in my family, and I want to be a role model to my two younger siblings. Our parents didn’t go to college and I want to show them that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. This is just one example, I could probably write a book about my aspirations, but you must keep in mind that for an elevator pitch you want short, sweet, and to-the-point.

You never know when you’ll use an elevator pitch. A classmate informed me recently that she was in the elevator with our management professor and he asked her questions such as what she wants to do after graduation and what her aspirations were. While he didn’t spell out elevator pitch, these small talk situations are what elevator pitches prepare you for. Since my classmate never gave much thought to her elevator pitch, she felt unprepared to respond, which made her appear unconfident and not passionate about her education.

I personally give my elevator pitch summary every time I interview for a job – or even when my distant family asks me what I am doing with my life. So, whether you have a curious family, are interviewing for a job, or want to impress your professor – elevator pitches are essential in being prepared to answer some of life’s most difficult questions with passion and confidence.

Jessica is a junior at Missouri State University majoring in Marketing with a minor in International Management. She will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in December 2016, and is accepted to an accelerated Masters of Business Administration program to complete her MBA the following year. Jessica is member of Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society,  Ad Club, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Fraternity.