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Do You Have A Powerful 30 Second Pitch?

From Career Tips, 2006 Volume 4, April 2006

I conducted a workshop this week at a networking group, and had the opportunity to listen to the "30 second pitches" of 2 dozen people experienced at giving them, people in career searches for whom their pitch is their lifeblood. Their pitches generally did a good job of spelling out what jobs they had held, where they had worked, and what they were seeking. But only a third had any material focus on the problems they could solve for others.

This is very common. We get wrapped up in describing ourselves, our titles, our duties, what we want from others. And as a result, we generate little genuine interest in our message. The good news is that this sets the bar so low that it's easy to create a powerful message that stands out, if you put a little thought and creativity behind it.

Instead of concentrating on telling a lot about yourself or your company, try talking about just a couple of specific challenges you can solve or results you can provide, in effect, making your message about what you can do for others. For example, at the business networking group I went to on Friday, this was my 30 second elevator pitch:

"John Hadley, John Hadley Associates, helping job seekers who are frustrated with their search. I also work with professionals struggling to unlock the door that leads to career advancement. I have a free Career Tips newsletter I send out monthly with tips for marketing yourself. Just give me your business card and I'll shoot you a copy. John Hadley, John Hadley Associates."

By the way, notice how I repeated my name at the end of my pitch. This is critical. I may not have caught your name at the start, but if your message grabs my attention, then you definitely want me to hear it at the end. And if you have a hard-to-pronounce name, or an accent, make sure you deliver it slowly and distinctly!

Dear Career Tips:
(Create a Compelling Message)

From Career Tips, 2007 Volume 4, April 2007

Posted to a Career Networking group: I am an innovative problem-solving strategic project manager who enjoys "creating order out of chaos." The majority of my positions involved developing a new role managing cross-functional teams to solve key business problems or explore a new opportunities. I'm analytical, enterprising, theoretical, and resourceful. I enjoy working on broad, global concepts, new business, and long-range effectiveness. I enjoy working with other independent people on models to solve complicated problems.

My Posted Reply:
Nice tagline ("creating order from chaos").

Now, if you could focus your message to provide a clearer picture of the sorts of results you can produce for your target employers...

"solve key business problems" --> this is very generic. What sort of business problems do you solve?
"explore a new opportunities" --> does this mean new sales opportunities, joint venture partnerships, new products, what? (And be careful in everything you do in terms of proofreading for typos, spelling, grammar; people are quick to draw first impressions about the care you put into your work, by what you present even in informal communications.)
"I enjoy working on..." --> But what can you do for your target employer in these areas, other than the generic "solve complicated problems"?


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