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Practice Your Elevator Pitch and Story

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Develop your elevator pitch.
  • Anticipate interview questions.
  • Use the CAR Method (Challenge, Action, Result) to focus your answers.

“So, Tell Us About Yourself”

Another common interview subject, and one of the most important. This is where your elevator pitch comes in. It’s a 30-second to 1-minute story of who you are and what you want to do.

The elevator pitch is all about you. It’s usually your first chance to make a positive impression. It’s tied closely to the question “Why do you want to work here?” and interviewers expect you to know your story inside and out.

No pressure, you got this. It’s your story, after all.

Once the elements are broken down, it becomes easier to craft it, fine-tune it, and practice it.

Craft Your Elevator Pitch

The Leeds School of Business calls out three parts to the elevator pitch: 

  • Who are you? What’s your goal?
  • Why are you pursuing this goal? What’s your motivation?
  • What skills/strengths do you bring? What are your differentiators?

Let’s check out an example.

Case Study: Linda Rosenberg Crafts Her Elevator Pitch

profile of Linda Rosenberg, SalesforcelandianLinda Rosenberg recently applied to the Salesforce Administrator role at Cloud Kicks, a custom apparel company. Soon after, she got the phone call—they want to bring her in for an interview. Exciting! The role, and Cloud Kicks as a company, align well with her experience and values. But she knows it’s easy to think and feel these things. It’s much more difficult to express them in an interview.

How does she tackle her elevator pitch? Giving it much thought, she breaks it down like this.

Who are you? What’s your goal?
“I’m currently the Salesforce Administrator for the University. I’ve been in this role for several years. I was excited to learn about this administrator role for Cloud Kicks as it gives me a chance to use my skills in application design and automation.”
Why are you pursuing your goal? What’s your motivation?
“I’m also excited because it’s a position that marries my love for sneakers and the expertise I’ve built throughout my career. I’m wearing a pair of Cloud Kicks today. And whether it’s working on a brand-new app, or guiding teams through the latest Salesforce update, there’s always something exciting to work on. If I get to wear the latest kicks while I’m at it, I can’t imagine a better dream job!”
What skills/strengths do you bring? What are your differentiators?
“App design is typically something that a designer or agency is tapped for. But that’s well within my skill set, as is Salesforce automation. And learning is definitely a passion of mine—my learning and the learning of others. I see myself continuing the work I do in my local Salesforce user group, enabling teams in Cloud Kicks with the latest features, and playing a critical part in keeping us on the cutting edge.”

This may seem like a lot, but remember, this is Linda’s story. It’s personal and natural to her. When considering your own elevator pitch, it’s important to make it your own. Use the above table as a template and feel free to reference your resume and cover letter for inspiration.

Remember—keep it to about 30 seconds to 1 minute maximum. This should be more than enough time to get your point across and put a personal touch to the role.

Anticipate Interview Questions

Preparing answers in advance helps you remember specific examples from your experience. There’s no time traveling or magic involved (while that can sound like fun). The Leeds School of Business assures that you have what you need with the job description and your resume.

Think back to when you first wrote your resume and tailored it to the job description. Practicing at this stage is a similar process. 

  • Look at the job description again.
  • Look at your resume (and cover letter if you submitted one).
  • Start comparing! Highlight areas where your skills and experience overlap with the job description. These are the areas interviewers are most likely to ask questions about.
  • Next, list questions you think they’ll ask—getting into the details of your experience.

Once you have a list of 3–5 questions for each section, practice answering them out loud to get comfortable.

Case Study: Linda Rosenberg Anticipates Interview Questions

Linda Rosenberg at her desk with a question mark thought bubble.

Once she has her elevator pitch down, Linda moves on to her experience and how it relates to the job.

How can she demonstrate her experience in a way that impresses the hiring manager on the spot?

The job description mentions that Cloud Kicks is growing, but is still a lean and agile organization. It needs a Salesforce administrator who also has experience with application design.

She thinks back to her experience designing an app for the University. Putting herself in the interviewers’ shoes, she starts asking herself questions.

  • “What was the app, and what did the University need it to do?”
  • “What did the process look like from start to finish?”
  • “Who were your stakeholders?”
  • “What was the result?”

And so on. Then, she moves on to the next requirement—experience with Salesforce automation. A smile appears across her face as she has plenty of experience with that as well. 

Linda sitting at her desk with a bunch of check marks in a thought bubble.Taking the time to anticipate the questions and answering them definitely helps Linda focus on what’s relevant for the interview. It also does wonders reducing her pre-interview anxiety.

Get to Know the CAR Method

You know you are a good fit for the role, but you need to have clear, concise examples to prove to the interviewer that you have the skills and experience to meet the needs of the role. When crafting your examples, the Leeds School of Business recommends you try the CAR method.

CAR stands for challenge, action, result. In Linda’s example: 

  • The challenge can be, “I needed to design a recruitment app that tracks prospects through the recruitment process.”
  • The action follows, “I went through requirements gathering with the recruitment team, which included a survey and one-on-one interviews, I sketched the workflow and user interface, and iterated based on feedback until it was ready to be built and deployed.”
  • Then, the result closes it out, “Because I followed these best practices, I had buy-in from all my stakeholders and even got my department additional funding to develop and deploy the app. It was also an added bonus to be recognized for my efforts during the company end-of-year party.”

Framing examples with the CAR method lets you neatly explain your story. The interviewer will also be able to easily follow the answer. 

It’s best to have 7–8 examples ready if you can.

The Day Is Here

Prepared with a solid elevator pitch and a wealth of examples that highlight her skills and experience, Linda feels anxious, but ready. The next unit covers best practices to follow on the day of the interview.


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