The Perfect Pitch
So tell me about yourself....
Everyone's (least) favorite question. It can go wrong so fast. There's no guidance on how to answer and we're often left unsure of what the employer is looking for.
That's why a pitch is so important. But we don’t want to brag, we don’t want to sell ourselves and we don’t want to be rejected. So what do we do? We push through and keep in mind that the rewards far outweigh the obstacles. You'll use your pitch in face-to-face networking, interviews, cover letters and online profiles--basically the entirety of your job search. Therefore mastering your pitch is an invaluable part of getting your dream career.
A good pitch, like anything worth doing, takes hard work; drafting, editing, rewriting--and it will change throughout the course of your career. At any given point, though, it has three crucial aspects. Make sure yours hits all three marks.
1. It Tells a Story
It doesn't quite matter where the story begins but it should always end with where you are at the moment you're pitching. Your story always leads to the opportunity you're seeking.
Example: My mom traveled a lot for work so we often stayed in hotels. I got really into the travel experience when I was older, gathering favorite airlines and hotel experiences--a weird hobby for a teenager. I always did the booking because my mother complained booking online was so difficult to do online--and it was back then. [...] Which is why I'd love to bring my sales skills to Triptease!
Not everyone is following a life long dream. Don't be shy if your dream just realized. There's nothing wrong with "After five years in sales, I realized my real love is working with people and demonstrating the value of a product. Implementation management is more my speed."
2. It Showcases Your Skills
This is arguably the most awkward part of the pitch. It's where you have to master talking about yourself in a way that makes you comfortable--because your discomfort will show in body language or speech patterns! So find the wording that's right for you first, then worry about your future employer.
Example: I worked as a travel agent for about 4 years which was great. It's a sales environment and I'm a people person who does well under pressure, so it was a match made in heaven.
Start casual, as you would in "normal" conversation and build up to a more formal response. Your formal response might be used on a cover letter but it wouldn't fit for a happy hour networking event.
3. It Shares Your Goals
This is key and my favorite part! You want to leave the listener/reader with an idea of where you're headed next. It's a call to action with a loose opening. They can either say "Oh! Have you checked out_______" or they can say "That's cool!"(If the pitch was good, they'll remember you for later).
Example: I'm transitioning to engagement management for travel companies because it combines my deep understanding of the industry on a professional level with my personal interest in it as a consumer.
Speak in definites. "I'm trying to become an engagement manager" vs. "My next move is engagement management".
You pitch yourself more often than you realize. Saying "I'm a software developer but I'm transitioning to cloud consulting." is something you might say over drinks. It's casual but it's technically still a pitch. (Not saying it's a fabulous one) It tells someone what you do and where you're headed. Normalize the conversation. Think about how often you're out to dinner or drinks or even at work speaking to someone in a no-pressure environment, where you discuss your skills and interests.
Your story doesn't change, just the people you tell it to. Don't be shy--own your past, present and future. Give yourself permission.
Leave your pitch in the comments and I'll give one point of feedback!
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