Published: April 2, 2018 By

Student shakes hands with employer at last year's Just in Time Career FairYour “pitch,” also known as your “elevator pitch” or “30-second intro,” is one of the most important things you’ll need to prepare before attending a career fair. Why? Because it will help you make a great first impression, and first impressions are everything!

An elevator pitch explains, in 30 seconds or less, who you are, your major and skills, and what your career goals are. If done well, it can literally open doors for you, and employers will want to continue that conversation. Stumble on your pitch, and recruiters will lose interest—fast. 

It can be intimidating to walk up to a recruiter and just begin talking about yourself. So, start with a smile, offer a firm handshake, establish eye contact and begin with something like this: 

“Hello, my name is _________. I am a (year in school) majoring in _________. I have a strong interest in what (company name) is involved with, and I would love to know more about what you do with the company and potential opportunities you may have available.”

Be sure to prepare a few questions to ask each employer after you've stated your elevator pitch. These questions should be related to the company or the positions for which they are recruiting. Research ahead of the fair to make sure your questions are insightful and not easily answered by looking at their website.

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Show your interest and knowledge by asking questions such as: 

  • “I read your company just started a project doing _________. What role would an intern at your company have in this project?”
  • “What are some typical projects that a person in this position gets to work on?”
  • “What types skills or experiences do you look for in a résumé?”
  • “How did you get into the _________ business?”
  • “What do you like most about your job?”
  • “What do you have to do to be successful in the _________ industry?”
  • “How is your company looking to grow in the future?”
  • “I see you are a CU Boulder alumnus/a. How did getting a degree here help prepare you for the position you are in now?”

The best way to prepare your elevator pitch is, first, to type it out and then practice saying it out loud over and over again until it rolls off the tongue. You'll feel much more comfortable approaching an employer at the career fair if you first know how to introduce yourself and get the conversation going.