Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Know Before You Go—Mastering Your Elevator Pitch

By Jodi Glickman, Founder, Great on the Job Jodi Glickman Brown

Mastering your elevator pitch is essential, especially in the job search process, both as you network and interview for your next role.  Your personal 30-second spiel about who you are, how you’re different, and why you’re memorable is going to be invaluable to you as you move through the steps of landing your dream job…

Here are three important ideas to think through as you craft your pitch:

1.     Why do you want the job?  Do you love the company; are you an avid fan of their products and services?  Have you been dying to break into the entertainment industry ever since a young age?  What is really driving you?

2.     How are you uniquely qualified? Understand the position and be able to answer the question “why are you a great candidate for this company?”

3.     What ties together your past and current experiences?  Be ready to communicate your story in a way that is compelling and makes sense — what is the glue that holds it all together?

Your elevator pitch is your opportunity to communicate these critical pieces of information to someone in a crisp but casual way — without even being asked.  As you answer the why, how, and what, keep these three pointers in mind:

1.     Think relevant, not recent. There’s no rule that says you must talk about your resume in reverse chronological order.   It’s more important to include the relevant parts of your background than include everything you’ve ever done since high school.  Pick and choose what will resonate with a recruiter or interviewer based on the position at hand. 

2.     Focus on skills-based versus industry-based qualifications.  Think of how your skills are transferrable to your target industry.  Alex, a recent MBA, was a chemist and researcher before school who wanted to work in corporate finance.  When pressed to explain why she chose finance, Alex exclaimed, “That’s the way my brain works.” As a scientist, her thinking was methodical, mathematical and formulaic — all of which translated to someone who would be a natural fit within a corporate finance department,

3.     Connect the dots — what ties it all together? I personally had a significant hurdle to clear as a former Peace Corps volunteer interviewing with investment banks. I explained away the transition by emphasizing that I was a big picture thinker by nature and a numbers person by training.  Banking was a perfect combination of the two— I liked looking at client’s challenges and issues from 30,000 feet and then digging down into the details to come up with creative financing solutions.

Ask yourself these questions as your craft your personal pitch and you’ll be able to use your story to impress others from the get-go and land that dream job!

Jodi Glickman is an expert in training young people how to be Great on the Job. Jodi is an entrepreneur, author, public speaker, consultant and regular blogger for Harvard Business Review. She is a contributor to Fortune.Com and Business Insider and her book: Great on the Job, What to Say, How to Say It, The Secrets of Getting Ahead (St. Martin's Press, May 2011) is a veritable master class in workplace success. Jodi has trained some of the best and brightest young minds in business—her clients include Harvard Business School, Wharton, NYU Stern School of Business, Kellogg School of Management, BofA/Merrill, Citigroup, Baird & Co., The Forte Foundation, and 85 Broads, among others. Jodi is a former Peace Corps volunteer (Southern Chile) turned investment banker (Goldman Sachs) turned communication expert. She received her MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

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