Make it Quick: The Art of the Elevator Pitch

Contributed by: IPhO

An elevator pitch is a brief verbal communication that is given to potential employers, that is intended to focus on a candidate’s education, skill set, background, and interests. Elevator pitches are extremely important and useful when working in the pharmaceutical industry.  Employers do not have the time to sit and hear a candidate speak about an entire CV/resume, so an elevator pitch allows a candidate to hit the highlights as it pertains to that job opportunity.  At its core, an elevator pitch is a way to present your best self to an employer in a way that avoids the usual “awkward” casual conversations that sometimes arise.

So, what needs to be included in an elevator pitch

  1. Student’s Name
  2. Student’s current program of study and projected year of completion
  3. Short review of student’s education, experience, key strengths, skills, and interest
  4. Explanation of why the student is interested in this particular company or position
  5. A strong closing that ends with the exchange of business cards or the student asking about how to follow-up with the company.

Other things to be considered:

Non-Verbal Cues:

  • Eye contact – this should be maintained but it’s not a staring contest.
  • Handshake – this should be firm and reflect confidence. No “limp fish” or “death grips”.
  • Smile – the student should exhibit a pleasant demeanor and smile so as to appear friendly.

Verbal Cues:

  • Fluent & Conversational – the student’s goal should be to hold a conversation with ease.
  • Disfluencies (um, uh, like, etc.) – the student should try to avoid an excessive amount that might distract the employer from the content of the pitch.

Example of a weak pitch:

Hi, I’m Koffi and I am a student at UCSOP. I’m studying pharmacy and I would like to work in a hospital when I graduate. What does your company do?

Example of a strong pitch:

Hello, my name is Koffi and I’m currently in my first year of the PharmD Program at UCSOP. I am interested in expanding my knowledge of community pharmacy practice through an internship with CVS. I have had the opportunity to job shadow at Wal-Mart and Walgreens and I really enjoyed learning about the operational setup as well as how different pharmacists counsel patients differently. I have also worked a few summers as a receptionist in a physician’s office so I know the importance of meeting the needs of patients and responding to inquiries accurately and promptly. May I have your business card to follow up about possible opportunities with your company