Perspectives | November 2007New Page 1

Career Corner
Using an Elevator Speech to Network Effectively

While some of our students may not know the definition of an "elevator speech," they probably have given one without realizing it. Most likely, they have been asked one of the standard initial interview questions, "Tell me about yourself."
The term "elevator speech" stems from the scenario of entering an elevator and seeing the person you've been hoping to have an opportunity to meet. You want to make a great first impression, but you only have a limited amount of time while traveling in the elevator. We want our students to know that essentially an elevator speech is a brief mini-commercial, and they are selling themselves.

Dale Kurow, a career and executive coach, says "an elevator speech is a short (15 to 30 seconds, 150 words) sound bite that succinctly and memorably introduces you. It spotlights your uniqueness. It focuses on the benefits you provide. And it is delivered effortlessly."
As with writing a successful resume or honing one's interview skills, designing a concise and meaningful elevator speech takes practice. Please encourage your student to visit Career Services and begin to develop this important networking tool.
There are many occasions a student can use an elevator speech: job or internship fairs, real and practice interviews, employer information sessions, social and networking events, and of course, elevators. Finally, anytime students are in the presence of a potential future employer or key individual is a perfect time to use an elevator speech. Fortunately, our students have many opportunities during this school year to practice and perfect their elevator speeches; some major events include:

  • Professional Preview Day (Nov. 14)
  • Practice Interview Day (Feb. 22)
  • Seminar Fair (Feb. 26)
  • Degrees at Work Etiquette Dinner & Connections and Confections Networking Dessert (March 5)
  • First Avenue Career & Graduate School Fair (April 3)

For more information about these events, and for a complete schedule, please visit

Darren L. Noble, Associate Director
Career Services: Vocation and Calling Fitness
Stevens 325

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