The Job Seeker’s Pitch: How to grab an employer’s interest in 30 seconds or less.
How you pitch yourself when you first meet someone who could help you in the job search makes a great difference to the likelihood of your success. This article by Canadian employment counsellor, Kelly Mitchell, explains very well how to make your pitch a winner.
Your pitch is that brief introduction you give to someone when time is of the essence but you want to communicate nonetheless who you are and what you're after. Some call this an elevator pitch; bringing to mind the 30 or so seconds you have someone to yourself who you wish to introduce yourself to.
For starters you have to know yourself. That sounds pretty obvious doesn't it? Don't think I'm being flippant; if you don't know yourself intimately you can hardly expect someone else to get you. Hmmm....know myself....seems downright easy. But is it? More on this later.
Secondly, once you know yourself, you have to be able to take all the things you know and prioritize which of your many characteristics and skills you want to highlight in this pitch you're forming. What you choose to include and by exclusion omit might even vary from situation to situation, from person to person depending on who you meet. So it's not just having a single pitch all nice and neat but perhaps more than one.
It all sounds rather complicated! It's stressful! What do I include? What do I leave out? What if I mix up my words and go blank half way through my pitch?
Relax....breathe....let's not make this complicated at all.
It helps if you have a clear goal in mind with respect to your employment goal; be that a job or a career. How about I use myself as an example for the purpose of this piece? You can take what I share and modify the content but adhere to the process if that helps you out.
Okay so I'm an Employment Counsellor. Now while that's what it says on my business card, I'm so much more than that. I want to differentiate myself from others immediately. So I'm not, "an" Employment Counsellor, I'm "your" Employment Counsellor. I'm in your service; more on that to come. I said the first thing to start with is knowing yourself. So some things I know about myself are the following: I believe in...
- the power of enthusiasm
- empowering others
- humour and fun as integral parts of learning and sharing
- demonstrating Servant Leadership principles
Now that's obviously not an exhaustive list, but it's enough to get going. Next up I want to look at those items and choose what is most important to me as I introduce myself to others. What do I want them to know about me? What would be most advantageous not only to me, but to the other person to know about me? Why? Because it's likely that if they are in a position to employ my services in some capacity, it would be in my own interests to come across as having something valuable to them.
Whether or not this person hires me or refers me to someone they know could use my services, this first 30 seconds or so is critical to creating that first impression; and I've got the advantage in having time now to craft this pitch so it comes across exactly as I want rather than winging it later and then saying to myself, "Why did I say that!" Ah, I blew it! Dumb, dumb, dumb..."
To my list then. Enthusiasm and empowering others are extremely important to me. I also make a large assumption that anyone I'm speaking with is going to similarly value engaging with someone they find enthusiastic as they go about their work. As I believe in empowering others, I'd think people would like to learn and be able to do things for themselves instead of being reliant on others. So I definitely want enthusiasm and empowerment in my pitch.
The service to others I mentioned earlier? Serving others is something that defines me and I'd like that to be one trait others come to see in me through my actions. As this is a first meeting with someone I'm prepping for, they can't be expected to know this or have seen me in action, so it's up to me to communicate this and if the person asks, provide examples that demonstrate my service to others.
So, I've got a beginning: "I'm your enthusiastic and empowering Employment Counsellor. I find great joy and satisfaction being of service to others; building and nurturing relationships founded on trust and mutual respect. I have a positive infectious attitude and deliver my services with passion and humour."
The thing about a pitch is that you want it to roll off your tongue in such a way that your tone of voice, your facial expression and your body language support the words you choose to use. In my case, the pitch would be delivered with a smile (for warmth and friendliness suggesting the fun). The words enthusiastic, infectious and passion are all similar in meaning and reinforce what I want to be known as.
So what do you think? I'm not asking what you think of my pitch as much as I'm asking if you think you could take what I've shared and then apply it to your own situation? That after all, is of importance to you, my reader.
If I may make a suggestion, pass this piece on to others. Who couldn't benefit from being able to articulate who they are, what they offer and how they deliver it in a brief 30 seconds or less?
So what's your own pitch sound like?