How to Prepare Your Virtual Career Fair “Elevator Pitch”

Learn how to create the perfect elevator pitch ahead of your next career fair – with examples!

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

So, you’ve registered for the DePaul Winter virtual career fair. You’ve scoped out the attending employers, registered for a few group and 1:1 sessions, and you’re feeling excited about the connections you’re about to make. You’ve got your outfit picked out, you’ve chatted with your roommates about keeping quiet and avoiding distractions during the fair, and you’re hopeful that you’ll make a good impression and find the job or internship you’re dreaming about. So, what else can you do to prepare? It’s time to work on your elevator pitch.

One of the best things you can do ahead of any virtual event is to prepare a few talking points to succinctly make the case about why you’re a great candidate. The employers that you meet with want to learn more about you! So think of a short overview about your background, studies, and career goals. Practice with a friend or family member ahead of the virtual fair so you’re ready when it’s time to introduce yourself to a recruiter.

Ahead, read our tips for how to prepare an elevator pitch.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is essentially a short and sweet synopsis about yourself for a prospective employer. It’s called an elevator pitch because it’s meant to be brief enough to deliver convincingly during a quick elevator ride to your floor.

How long should my pitch be?

Think about the length of your average elevator ride. Not long, right? It’s a best practice to keep your elevator pitch to a minute or less! The key to an impactful elevator pitch is to stay short and sweet, avoid rambling, and prioritize truly pertinent information.

What should I include in my elevator pitch?

Focus on the skills and qualifications that’ll make you uniquely appealing to your audience. Give some top-level bullet points about what makes you an awesome candidate! 

  • Your field of study
  • A couple relevant skills or certifications
  • A nod to relevant experience 

Your elevator pitch should also touch on your professional goals: if you hope to find a job at a mission-driven startup, or want to relocate to Denver, or aim for a role where you’ll flex your coding skills, mention these. 

If you plan to meet with a few different types of employers during your career fair, don’t be afraid to tailor your pitch to different industries and roles. For example, your proficiency in Photoshop might not be relevant to a corporate sales role, but it is for marketing! Be aware of your audience. 

How to deliver an elevator pitch

When it comes to your elevator pitch, practice makes perfect. You might feel silly running through a 30-second spiel about yourself, but becoming confident in your delivery can make a huge difference when you’re face-to-face with a recruiter! Aim for your pitch to be brief, persuasive, and confident—not boastful. Ask a trusted friend or family member to run through your pitch with you a few times, give constructive feedback, and help you nail it! 

How should I wrap up after my pitch?

Typically, it’s a best practice to have a business card or a copy of your resume to hand to somebody after delivering your IRL elevator pitch during a career fair. However, since you’ll be meeting recruiters during virtual fairs, have a link to your Handshake profile handy to send via chat! If relevant, you can also share a digital portfolio during this time.

Elevator pitch examples:

  • “I’m Brinton and I just graduated DePaul University with a degree in English! I’ve worked as a freelance writer for lifestyle publications like Bustle for the past two years, and now I’m looking to grow as a full-time reporter in the entertainment, travel, or breaking news space. I’m proficient in Photoshop, certified in Google Analytics, and have experience managing social media channels for small businesses.”
  • “I’m Luke, and I’m a software engineer with a background working with high-growth e-commerce startups in the Chicago area. However, now I am looking for an opportunity that will bring me closer to my family and friends in Raleigh. I specialize in iOS and have four years of experience writing C++ code in a POSIX environment.”
  • “I’m Rey, and I’m a rising senior at DePaul University. I’m studying finance and spent last summer as an analyst for Goldman Sachs, where I focused mainly on comparative financial performance analysis. Now that I’m graduating in June, I’m hoping to find a full-time role as an investment banking analyst.”

5 Career Fair Prep Tips

By: Lorne Bobren, Technology & Design Career Community Advisor

The DePaul Career Center hosts several job fairs each year. The companies who attend are eager to learn about your qualifications and why you may be a good fit for their company. Whether you are looking for a full-time job or an internship, here are some tips on how to best prepare for the next fair:

1. Create an action plan

Job fairs at DePaul can have as many as 40-60 companies attend. It’s unrealistic to think you’ll connect with all companies attending, so the best approach is to review the company list on Handshake and make a list of 3-5 target employers. These companies should be your primary focus while attending the fair.

2. Research

One of the worst things you can do at a fair is ask a company, “What positions are you hiring for?” This information is easy to find on Handshake and the company’s website. Once you’ve created your target list of employers, you should review the company’s website, mission, social media, and job openings. This information will let you naturally converse with companies at the fair rather than asking questions that are found online. Show the recruiter you did your homework and that you’re genuinely interested in the company.

3. Have your resume reviewed

Having a polished resume prior to the fair is essential. Some companies may host on-campus interviews a few days after the fair or look to bring in candidates for onsite interviews a few days after the fair. The best way to ensure you’re prepared is by visiting the Career Center prior to the fair to have your resume reviewed.

4. Develop a 30 second pitch

You’ll have limited time to speak with recruiters at job fairs, so it’s best to develop a quick pitch that summarizes your skills and interest in the company. The purpose of an elevator pitch is to create a brief, impactful message that touches on the following key points:

  1. You! Your most important characteristics and interests
  2. What you can offer to the employer and workforce
  3. Your goal in connecting with the individual or company you’re pitching

Think about what qualities you possess that will leave an impression and bundles your strengths, what you can offer, and your intentions.

5. Connect with alumni mentors

DePaul’s ASK network is a great way to calm nerves and relax prior to the attending the fair. Alumni mentors are available before and during the fair to help with crafting your elevator pitch, resume reviews, and tips on how to approach employers.

 

Careers fairs may seem a bit intimidating, but creating an action plan and following through that plan is the best way to enhance your experience!

Tips For Crafting an Impressive Elevator Pitch

By: Gina Anselmo, Former Career Advisor for the DePaul University College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of an “elevator pitch?” Perhaps two people in formal attire at a job fair, shaking hands, and answering the basic questions of, tell me about yourself or what do you do? While you can ditch the actual elevator, responding to either question is a staple to getting to know others in any professional or social situation. Thinking of your elevator pitch – or your 30-second introduction speech – is a key ingredient to making a meaningful first impression.

The purpose of an elevator pitch is to create a brief, impactful message that touches on the following key points:

  1. You! Your most important characteristics and interests
  2. What you can offer to the employer and workforce
  3. Your goal in connecting with the individual you’re pitching

Your introduction or pitch should be something easily adaptable and shared in many contexts ranging from job fairs, interviews, internships, to social situations such as joining a new student organization or perhaps meeting a new professor for class. When developing your pitch, make sure you are showcasing your best attributes, and make sure the pitch feels authentic and is true to you – this is the most important thing to remember when crafting your pitch.

In order to put your best foot forward in developing an elevator pitch that works for you, it’s important to think of a few basic components that can make up the structure:

How do you want to describe yourself? If you are a student, you might want to think about sharing your name, school, and major. If you are a new professional, perhaps you want to share your role and organization.

What do you do well and what can you offer? Think about accomplishments or recent experiences that can showcase transferrable skills and connect with the flow of the conversation. Think about contributions you have made and how you are interested in continuing in another setting.

What is your goal with your pitch? Think about your audience and who you are speaking to. What is your goal in talking to that person? Be intentional when sharing your purpose. Are you interested in exploring job or internship opportunities, making an academic connection, or learning about a new organization or graduate program?

What is your secret sauce? This is something that I often talk about in terms of adding another layer of authenticity and depth to the impression you want to make. Think about a unique point you can share about your background, interests, or contributions that serves as a ‘hook’ to carry the conversation further.

Finally, after your pitch, you should be prepared to ask questions to further engage the person. Make sure you are practicing active listening so you can think of questions on the spot that will carry the conversation to interesting places. Remember, networking is a two-way street!

My Advice to You When Developing Your Pitch

Be true to yourself! Think about what snapshot of you will leave an impression that bundles your strengths, what you can offer, and your intentions. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to crafting a pitch; rather, the more you know about yourself and prepare, the better you will be at adapting your pitch to the right audience.


Are you interested in practicing your pitch and further preparing for interviews? You can practice online with InterviewStream, a video mock interview system.