Elevator rides take roughly thirty seconds to two minutes. This is how long your pitch should be. Due to the brevity of the speech, your first two sentences are the most important. Unless they immediately hook the listener, your pitch is a dud. On top of this, keep the language simple. Fancy words will only serve as a distraction from what you’re selling. Focus on facts and not fluff. You want your listener to immediately know who you are and what you do.
Make sure you have a few pitches to pass around. Who you talk to should influence what you tell them about yourself and what you plan to achieve with your skills. For example, take a photographer and a fashion designer. While both need models, both need very different types of models.
When should you use the pitch?
Anytime anyone asks you to talk about yourself and your goals. You can certainly hunt down higher profile individuals to see if you can sell yourself but a smarter idea would be practicing pitches for different agencies to describe why you would be a valuable asset. Portfolios and resumes do speak volumes, but many decisions are made based on presentation.
If your pitch never really sells, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Employers hear pitches all the time and have a lot of knowledge to give in terms of what works and what doesn’t. Even asking for feedback could net an agency’s interest since you’re showing an enthusiasm to learn and adapt.