Network like a pro: the perfect Elevator Pitch

Jacobs University hosted its 5th annual Career Fair in February, welcoming over 40 exhibitors and presenters from companies like Google, Daimler, Roche, and Accenture. The Fair traditionally takes place in our beautiful Campus Center. Companies and institutions set up booths for the day, and prepare targeted presentations to entice students about their job and research opportunities. Some companies, like Google, plan special hack events with specific students, while others try to inform the general student body about what they do.

The Career Services department places large focus on attaining different companies and opportunities for students, so that there is something interesting for everyone. From large conglomerates, to middle sized enterprises- the aim is to expand career outlooks and broaden perspectives. Many students attend the Fair to find an internship or a first job after graduation, while others work purely on their networking skills- gaining contacts and making good first-impressions. Knowing how to stand proudly, extend your hand, smile, and speak confidently is not always a given, so practicing early-on is the key. We encourage students to prepare a strong elevator pitch, in order to make the best first impression possible.

Companies that attend the Career Fair are in search of international and diverse talent. They require employees who are capable of working in teams with individuals from different areas of expertise and cultural backgrounds. With an ever-evolving global work environment, this kind of experience is hard to come by.

In order to increase career perspective, we also place a strong emphasis on integrating alumni participation at the Fair. Every year, alumni from different graduating classes and different majors come back to campus with either their own company, or on behalf of the company they work with, to recruit Jacobs talent. Jacobs alumni are a driving force within the Fair, in terms of informing students on possibilities. The Fair always features an alumni discussion panel, the “Alumni Career Talks” featuring panelists from varying specialties working in different fields. The discussions with students uncover opportunities that were never before considered. Though the discussions often vary, the final message is the same: the Jacobs experience is an indispensable asset, and if you are doing something you enjoy and are passionate about, nothing can stop you.

We are hiring individuals from 130 countries worldwide, so this is an excellent place for us to recruit. Small, but excellent.
— Susanne Reiter-Amiri | GIZ- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zusammenarbeit

the famous “elevator pitch”- are you familiar with it?

Simon Möller (Germany) | Class of 2013 | Software Engineer at Google

Simon Möller (Germany) | Class of 2013 | Software Engineer at Google

The elevator pitch is a short, yet persuasive, statement that should compel whoever you are speaking to, to want to know more about you. This is how you can sell yourself in just a few sentences. The catch? It should be short enough to keep the listener’s attention, so you should be able to tell it to somebody in an elevator: about 30 seconds!

Elevator pitches are great to use when you approach potential employers, or individuals you’d like to cooperate with. By practicing your elevator pitch ahead of time, you kick the nerves you might feel just before approaching employers, because you will already know what to say.

Here are some tips on writing your own elevator pitch that could just secure your next internship:

  • Always introduce yourself first: give your full name, your hand for a handshake and a pleasant remark like: "I’m pleased to meet you!"

  • Summarize what you are doing and your background: What are you studying? What work experience do you have? What are your strengths? What are you focusing on? Remember, it’s not a comprehensive list of your activities but should be one to two sentences on what you do.

  • Explain then what you want: if you already have a concrete position in mind, explain how you are good for the job and what the company can gain from you.

  • Finally, end the pitch by asking for an interview or phone call to discuss this further. Thank the listener for their time, and maybe even send a follow-up email or a social media invitation to maintain the connection you just built!

With this, you are armed with the best ammunition to tackle any new conversation at the next Jacobs Career Fair!

The next Jacobs Career Fair takes place on March 4th 2020. We hope to see you there!

By Daisy Juknischke-Heinsen (Dominican Republic) | Alumni and Career Services Office


Some impressions of the 2019 Jacobs career fair here: