Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to Develop Your Personal Pitch.

You made it past the online screen – check. Now you’re about to be interviewed in person. So all the careful work you’ve done up to this point to present yourself so carefully on paper and online – crafting a beautifully formatted resume; writing eloquent and spell-checked cover letters; and combing through your social networking profiles to make sure only the most professional version of “you” is publicly available – is basically moot. They know all of that information, and everyone else that you’re up against has done the same. Now you need to go in with something strong. You need to develop your “pitch”.

What is your pitch? It’s your personal statement that conveys who you are and why you’re perfect for the job. It shouldn’t take longer than 2 minutes to deliver. And it should include the following:
1. Experience
2. Strengths
3. Awards/honors
4. Near- and/or long-term goals

One important point: only mention any of the above to the extent it’s relevant to the position or the interviewer. So if you’re applying for a part-time admin gig at a literary agency and you ultimately want to be publicist, definitely mention it – they’ll love the long-term view. But if you’re doing it to pay the med school bills and you ultimately want to be a veterinarian (nothing wrong with that!), leave it out of your pitch…it’s not relevant.

An example of a good pitch: “My name is Rachel Berry. I am the lead soprano in my school’s Glee Club, New Directions. I am also its captain, and under my leadership, our team won at Sectionals last year. My career goal is to be a Tony-Award winning performer on Broadway.”

Now, naturally, all items on the above list could take a person 5-10 minutes each, or longer, to really delve into. And you should – after your initial pitch. But if your interviewer doesn’t “have you at hello”, your entire interview won’t last much longer than your pitch – and that’s not usually a good thing!

The typical first question in any interview is, “Tell me a little about yourself.” Perfect. They’re asking an open-ended question to see how you handle it. You’ve got this covered! Give your pitch, do it succinctly, and then ask the interviewer if they’d like to hear about any of those items in more detail. If they say yes, chances are your pitch worked – or at least your interview will last a few minutes longer ☺.

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