The “Elevator Pitch” and “The Bumper Sticker”

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. You need to be able to introduce yourself and answer the question “tell me about yourself” during interviews. You may use either the elevator pitch or the bumper sticker whenever you are networking or interviewing in your job search.

When to Use:

  • In response to “tell me about yourself” during job interview
  • In any situation when you are making networking connections
  • To increase your confidence as you introduce yourself
  • As a script when making cold telephone calls
  • When requesting informational interviews or advice

Elevator Pitch

Key Components:
A formal introduction

  • Focuses on education and professional development
  • Can be used to describe work experience and key accomplishments
  • Informs the listener of current status; what you have to offer
  • Length – 30 seconds to max of 2 minutes

Example: (use only as a guide — create your own, specific to your situation)

Thanks so much for speaking with me. My name is Jane Jobseeker. Nan Networker gave me your name as someone who might have information about the field of bioethics.

In May, I will be graduating from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health with an MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy. While in school, I worked as a research assistant. I am especially proud of the fact that I presented a poster presentation on tobacco use prevention at the ASPH conference last year.

As I mentioned, I am exploring information about the field of bioethics, with a goal of combining my skills and education working in a small non-profit. I have a few questions about your position and agency and wonder if you could tell me a little about what you do and what it is like to work here.

Bumper Sticker

Key Components:

  • Your personal tagline
  • For professional exchange
  • Short, benefit focused statements
  • Easier to memorize than an elevator pitch
  • More conversational than an elevator pitch
  • What you do now or how you can help in 5-10 seconds

Example: (use only as a guide — create your own, specific to your situation)

“I speak for organizations that want to help their people have better, more profitable conversations”


“I help people chit-chat their way to success”

Developing Your Bumper Sticker

These tips are designed to help you create the first draft of your bumper sticker statement, an essential personal marketing and networking tool.

  1. List areas of expertise, relevant experiences, volunteerism, recognition, awards or certifications that distinguish you
  2. List relevant projects and work experiences and their results
  3. Complete the statement, “I really enjoy working in/with…” (List: industries, team characteristics, etc.)
  4. Complete the statement, “I have focused in/on…” (list key skills, capabilities, and strengths)
  5. Complete the statement, “I am interested in…” (benchmarking, increasing expertise, expanding network, etc.)

Five Advantages Of The Bumper Sticker

  1. It lets the listener, rather than the speaker, decide how much information is enough and how much is too much.
  2. It keeps the focus on the two people in the conversation (or three, or more) rather than on anyone’s job description (which may well be the least interesting thing about you, in any case).
  3. It doesn’t hijack the conversation and turn it into a sales pitch, or run the risk of appearing to do so.
  4. It gives the new acquaintance just enough information to remember.
  5. It is polite!

Applying Your Bumper Sticker In A Networking Conversation

MARY: Hi, I’m Mary – and you?
BOB: I’m Bob. Nice to meet you, Mary. What brought you here tonight?
MARY: Oh, my friend Agnes is one of the organizers. I’ve never been to a meetup before. How about you?
BOB: I come to this group occasionally, and always have fun when I do. So, are you a marketing person?
MARY: I’m an event planner, so I’m in the same vein. I didn’t see any event planning meetups so I tagged along with Agnes at this marketing one.
BOB: So, what sorts of events do you work on? Do you work for yourself?

© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement