Last week, we offered one simple approach to the classic 30-second speech. Many job seekers find this short introduction, sometimes called an “elevator pitch” invaluable during their career.
One size does not fit all, so this week we are suggesting three other options you can pick from when scripting your pitch. They include:
- The three “wheres” formula,
- Problem/solution pitch, and
Most of us are not professional sales and marketing people, so we have also included some tips for introducing yourself in networking and other job search situations.
The Three “Wheres” Formula
This formula is simple:
- Where are you now?
- Where have you been?
- Where do you want to go? (with an optional call to action)
I’m currently a television news anchor, but I got my start in television as a meteorologist. I’m looking to combine my journalism and weather forecasting experience to work for The Weather Channel.
I’m a bilingual financial analyst who specializes in international accounts. My background is in forensic accounting and auditing. I’m currently pursuing my certification as a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics so I can identify and investigate financial crimes — hopefully for a government agency or a law firm.
I’m a PR specialist with emphasis in new product launches. I’m unique because I’m a product engineer who moved into communications. My technical expertise gives me an edge in pitching the media for news coverage. I’m looking to align myself with a manufacturer with at least six new launches a year, and I’d love to talk with you about what you’ve got in the pipeline.
If you’re doing an elevator pitch, you can also start with the problem first before you talk about yourself as the solution. This works best for a networking situation versus the “tell me about yourself” question in a job interview.
Does your company struggle with theft and inventory losses?
I’m a loss prevention expert who has helped my employers reduce employee and customer theft by 98%, saving more than $100,000 over the last three years.
Does your company participate in trade shows?
I’m a trade show specialist with a knack for creating show-stopping booths that attract 20% more traffic than our competitors.
This formula works well for people who can quantify their impact and achievements. It starts with who you are and what you do, gives some insight into how you do or did it, and gives metrics (dollars, numbers, percentages) to make you memorable.
Here’s the formula:
I’m a [job title] that [what you do] by [how you do it], resulting in [metric].
I’m a security specialist, providing mostly commercial protection services. I manage a team of 17 part-time and full-time guards, ensuring 24/7 coverage for more than a dozen high-risk properties. We’ve achieved zero incidents of vandalism and theft for these clients in the past year, saving them tens of thousands of dollars.
As a resume writer and LinkedIn profile developer, the problem/solution and who/what/how/outcome models are especially appealing. You can extract them from problem-action-result statements that already appear on your resume, profile, and job search letters. That helps ensure you are offering a consistent message to prospective employers and industry contacts.
Tips for an Effective Introduction
No matter which formula you follow, here are some tips to make your introduction more effective.
- Introduce yourself first, if necessary. Start your introduction with “Hi, I’m (your name).”
- Write it out first. Then, read it out loud. Record yourself, either by yourself or practicing it with a friend. Watch it back, looking for words that you stumble over. Then edit it. Then read it out loud and/or record it again. A professional sales trainer I worked with emphasizes the importance of scripting and practice to make a sale, and job search is a sales function.
- Be concise. Keep it simple, short, and direct — and don’t use jargon or buzzwords.
- Adapt it for the situation. Customize it for the situation and the recipient. Have more than one pitch if you have more than one job target, and use the right pitch for the right situation and audience. And remember, you don’t have to include everything — this is a quick summary, not a comprehensive retelling of your entire career history.
- Practice it. Smile as you say it! And slow down when you talk — you want it to sound like a conversation, not a rehearsed speech.
- Be future-oriented — especially if you want to do something different going forward in your career. Talk about what you want to do — not what you don’t want to do.
- Include something that sets you apart. Your introduction should be compelling — make it interesting. Think about what you want the person to remember about you.
- Ask for what you want/need. Especially if you are using your introduction in a networking situation, end it with a specific request. Ask if they know a company that needs someone like you. Ask if they know any recruiters that work with candidates with your experience.
Most important, put your introduction to work for you. Keep refining it, making little changes until you come up with something that is simple and effective. That way, you’ll never struggle or stumble when someone says, “So, what do you do?” Of course, even the three formulae above may not work for everyone. Our next post will focus on a strategy for those of us that are in, or if you are thinking of joining the growing post-pandemic service economy.