You can never predict when an opportunity will arrive to pitch yourself into a new job. It could be on an airplane, in a pub, at a party or, like what happened to me, in the park while walking my dog. Whatever the setting, you should be able to pull a 30-45 second spiel about yourself out of the bag without thinking. If you don’t sell yourself, who will? Maybe your mum, but that’s not how the grown ups do it.
We’re not saying this will land you the job but if you can give this jobseekers elevator pitch successfully, you could end up with an intro, a phone call or even an interview. It’s all about getting a peek into that window of opportunity and edging your way closer to the door of where you want to be.
To get this right there are three areas, or questions you should focus on: ‘Who you are’, ‘What you want’, and ‘What you can do’ – in 30 seconds. Sounds easy, right? Feel free to move these around to an order that suits your own situation.
1. Who are you?
We don’t mean for you to look deep inside your inner core or anything. This is your chance to display your personality and nature. Pay attention to your facial expressions and body language, keeping them open and friendly. Think about it, people want to work with someone they like and connect with. Interviewers always ask themselves the following question ‘Could I sit beside them?’
2. What do you want?
Get this clear in your head. What type of position do you want to pursue? And in which industry? This needs to be so obvious, staring you in the face obvious, or your listeners face for that matter. Although don’t stare at them, it’s unnerving, blinking is the way forward. Once you make this clear, your listeners are in a better position to help you move closer to that job. So think about the impression of yourself you are leaving them with. You might not suit their department, but if you make a great impression they could make an intro on your behalf.
You know when you finish chatting with someone, and you really only remember one or two things they said. The same principle applies here, so think about what they are taking away from your chat. Which sounds better to you: ‘Mark is really interested in marketing and knows what he is looking for in a job’ or ‘Mark seemed a bit iffy about what he wants to get into’. It’s pretty clear which one sounds better, but if you don’t stop and think about the message you are sending, it can get jumbled up quite easily.
3. What do you do?
Don’t reel off a boring list of your past or current responsibilities and duties. Here you need to let your skills be free. You can actually use the pitch itself as a vehicle to showcase your strengths. By giving a clear elevator pitch, you are showing your communication skills. If you deliver the pitch with a flow that makes sense, you’ll be telling your audience that organisational skills are natural to you. Think about the skills and experience you want show off here. You can’t showcase everything, so narrow it down to the important bits. Maybe they are your stronger skills, the skills needed for the job in mind or similar experience with a competitor. Whatever you decide to showcase, make sure you put a spin on it so your listener can pull out how they will benefit from you.
One final pointer, if writing stuff down works better for you, make sure to have a go at it out loud in front of a friendly face. People don’t really speak the same way they write. Be sure you don’t come across too formal. You want this pitch to be relaxed and conversational.
And if you’re wondering about me, I got chatting to that fellow dogwalker, who gave me access to talk to someone at his company for a college project I was working on at the time, which eventually led to a job.
So remember; who you are, what you do & what you want – all in 30 seconds.
Ready when you are.
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