How an elevator pitch can help land your next internship


You are about to graduate from college and are looking to get some experience in your field before you walk across the commencement stage next semester. You walk into an elevator and next to you is the CEO of a company for whom you have dreamed of working.

You are a local software company that has been searching for a great developer that will take your product to launch and round out your team. You heard about an outstanding intern who has helped launch products for your competitors. Many of the local companies have made her offers to join their company when she graduates in two weeks. You walk into an elevator and there she is.

If you had three minutes to convince someone to hire you, or someone to become part of your team, what would you say? Would you land that internship? Would you recruit that student?

Developing a clear elevator pitch is pivotal to your success when you are attempting to sell yourself to either an employer or trying to recruit a star employee. FIU’s master networker and relationship builder Vice President for Engagement Saif Y. Ishoof believes building relationships and mentorships through networking is essential for success of companies and students.

He shared the following tips on how to develop a perfect elevator pitch and help build these connections in three minutes or less:

1) Be authentic. Don’t try to be someone that you are not.

2) Keep it short  and sweet.

3) Mindset. Establish that you have a growth mindset and are open to learning and growing via the leader and opportunity at hand.

4) Data. Demonstrate that you understand the key drivers of the industry and sector you are seeking to work in.

5) Gratitude. Always take moment after making a new connection to send a note of appreciation for their time and perspective.

“Our economy can only grow stronger when the 305 accelerates more intentional collisions between talent and industry,” Ishoof said.

FIU’s Office of Engagement oversees the One Community One Goal Talent Development Network (TDN) internship portal that is aimed at helping foster an internship culture in Miami.

Part of the Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal Targeted Industry Strategic Plan, TDN focuses on creating internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in seven industries: aerospace, creative design, hospitality and leisure, information technology, life sciences and health care, international banking and finance and trade and logistics.

For college students working toward their degree having an internship is essential to jump start their career.  According to the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, employers hire as full-time workers about 50 percent of the interns who worked for them before they graduated. And that share of interns who get full-time offers is growing every year.

For employers, recruiting and retaining top talent is essential for the sustainability and success of their business. Recent studies have suggested that losing a millennial employee can costs the company $15,000 to $25,000, and it is hard to quantify the positive impact a high performing employee can have on your bottom line.

Speed networking connects students to employers

Students and employers from across Miami-Dade County were given the opportunity to practice these highly important networking skills at a breakfast Feb. 14 at the Beacon Council as part of an event for TDN. More than 60 students from seven academic institutions that participate in Miami’s Academic Leaders Council joined more than 50 employers – such as Uber, the New Tropic, Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami Beach, Telefonica, Senator Daphne Campbell, Stardom Up and Cargo42 – for an hour of speed networking.

Each participant had the opportunity to speak to either a student or employer for three minutes at a time before they were asked to move on.

“My legislative assistants met some wonderful students,” Senator Daphne Campbell said.

The networking was followed by a panel where interns Feras Ahmed and Alma Ramirez spoke about their internship experience and how it helped launch their career alongside their employers, Brian Brackeen of Kairos and Mallesh Murugesan of Abeyon, respectively, who shared the value that interns bring to companies.

“TDN helped me find this opportunity that helped me move along in my career,” Ramirez said.

The panel also highlighted the talent of an FIU senior, whose extensive experience would make him a prime candidate for any local employer. Gregory Johnson shared insight on how to land great internships and how employers can also attract great talent:

“Having a culture that accepts winning ideas and respects and values its employees is important for me,” he said.

Part of a new series, TDN’s next speed networking breakfast will be held in Fall 2017.