En Route: A Career Blog

Pitching Yourself: 5 Practical Resume and Interview Tips for Job Seekers

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: , ,
POSTED: September 17, 2013 at 7:24 am

 

When you hear the word “pitch,” what comes to mind? In a world where our job market is saturated, the association with buzzwords in resumes or during interviews, without proven results of what you’ve done, is increasingly frowned upon. Some hiring managers and recruiters associate “pitch” with the guy at the networking event, martini in one hand and business card in the other, constantly trying to sell every person in the room on his supposed expertise. Perhaps you think of the speaker with a robust PowerPoint presentation, reading every word of the slides on the screen. In Silicon Valley, we often associate “pitching” with  entrepreneurs attempting to impress investors. Regardless of your place in the professional world, the idea of selling yourself is not something people typically look forward to. It can be especially difficult when you are looking for employment. Whether you are seeking your first job, transitioning into a new role, or exploring a new career, “selling yourself” can feel exhausting and contrived.

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However, what if the word “pitch” was viewed differently? As less of a sleazy business tactic, and more of a human story? The truth is, we work hard at creating interesting lives, taking chances, making sacrifices, and going after the jobs we hunger for. What if your pitch captured that vision, that passion, that story? I believe it can.

Don’t Let the Interview Throw You

Experience as a communications coach has shown me this is easier said than done. In any interview, you will be asked the dreaded questions, “What do you do?” And: “What have you done?” For most people, this is where things tend to fall apart. A majority of people either get shy, don’t want to seem like they are boasting, or ramble aimlessly. Therefore, people keep answers extremely short and disengaging, or talk for minutes on end, yet still leave the interviewer confused as to what was said. The truth is, this is your moment to shine, to leave the hiring manager begging you to come work for the company. This is a safe space for you to boast about your achievements and show off your brilliance.

How can we talk about years of rich experiences in less than one minute? Following these five simple steps has been helpful to my client base, as well as my own personal storytelling tactics and pitch development. These steps can be followed by recent college graduates or veteran professionals:

Identify the job you are going for

Write out the one to two sentences that you feel best describes the role you are seeking, or a brief mission statement you want your role to capture.

Mine is: (I was seeking to be the CEO and founder of my own company) My business helps individuals and companies craft their most compelling 30­-60 “pitch” and messaging around their idea. I then take that message, script it, and our video team creates a compelling one-minute HD promotional video, or “movie trailer” for your project or idea.

Identify why you want the job

Write out the one sentence that is the motivating factor behind your application for the role.

 Mine is: I believe that human beings are remarkable benefit creators and each story deserves to be shared with the world in the most concise and compelling way possible.

Identify why you are meant for the job

Make a list of your three top gifts, strengths, and talents.

Mine were: Outstanding public speaker, creative storyteller, master synthesizer of large amounts of information.

Establish relevant credibility

Make a list of your top three professional successes that are somewhat, even if only remotely, related to your current project (think broad and creatively here).

Mine were: Political speechwriter for Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration in NYC, creator of international human rights projects in South America and the Caribbean, and community organizing successes as I obtained a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.

Deliver

Combine steps one through four and pitch your way to perfection.

My pitch: I am the founder of a communications coaching and video production company. We help individuals and organizations share their story through a combination of professional message development and HD video production. As a political speechwriter in NYC and someone who has created projects internationally, I know how important a concise and compelling pitch is to continued progress of your project goals. I love storytelling and crafting compelling narratives. If I can help others share their journeys and professional dreams with the world, I am doing what I am meant to.

I urge you to have fun crafting your story, and when the interview begins, breathe and smile! You have worked hard to live an interesting life, and you believe in your capacity to be of benefit. So, tell the world where you’ve been, and where you are going. There are a whole lot of people in the world, but only one you. You deserve to share your story with the world. But let’s start with your next boss.

Brian Rashid

Founder, CEO  //  A Life in Shorts

Brian Rashid's headshot
Brian was recruited as an athlete by Butler University and studied Public and Corporate Communications. Upon graduation, he moved to San Francisco and taught 8th grade for Americorps. He also created an Italian language program, cultural cooking classes and salsa dance lessons for his students. He then moved to New York City where he obtained a law degree from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. At CUNY, Brian worked for the Economic Justice Project where he drafted policy, lobbied for legislative reform around education rights for welfare recipients, and represented single mothers whose welfare benefits were unconstitutionally terminated Additionally, he enrolled in CUNY's Health Law clinic where he worked at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), conducting research and outreach on a class action lawsuit advocating for equal treatment of uninsured patients who desperately needed medical attention. Internationally, Brian created and implemented human rights projects in the Caribbean and South America. In the Dominican Republic, he lived and worked in an orphanage on a project to successfully shut down a massive trash dump that was burning its garbage nightly, causing significant respiratory health problems for the children. In Argentina, he wrote his law school thesis around the right to high quality, free public healthcare for all. There, he also created partnerships with neighborhood food vendors to educate local communities about food's beneficial, preventive qualities on their health. Upon graduation from law school, Brian was in charge of the volunteer outreach and training area of Mayor Bloomberg's reelection campaign in Northern Manhattan. In this capacity, he recruited, trained and organized over 600 volunteers assigned to 400 locations in Northern Manhattan. After Mayor Bloomberg won his reelection, Brian continued working in the administration as Special Assistant to Commissioner Jonathan Mintz at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, where he drafted and edited speeches for the Commissioner and served as his public event liaison. Currently, Brian is the founder and CEO of a Life in Shorts, a messaging and video production company. He coaches and leads workshops for an array of individuals and companies on the development and delivery of their most concise and compelling 60-second 'pitch'. He combines this skill with HD video production to capture this message in one-minute promotional videos. In addition to his client work, Brian created and leads a workshop, "The 60 Seconds That Change Your Life", a high energy and interactive workshop that inspires the audience to share their story with the world in the most compelling way possible. He is also a motivational speaker. Through his speech, "It's Your Hour", Brian takes you through his journey from a structured athletic life in the Midwest to becoming the founder of a global company. Highlighting themes of bravery, service and love, Brian explains the most important 10 minutes of his life and the lessons that can be universally applied from these moments. Brian lives in San Francisco, but his clients, workshops and speaking engagements keep him global. For more information, please contact Brian at brianrashid.com.

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