15 Second Career Success Strategy - Create a Personal Pitch With Punch

Many job seekers say that the most difficult part of the job search process is making the ability to make a strong first impression. While the job search process is one of mutual selection and evaluation--i.e. you pick your potential employer and your potential employer picks you, the process can feel very heavily slanted toward the employer during the initial stages of the process. This is particularly the case when it comes to the first impression: many studies show that interviewers frequently make a general decision on whether or not to hire within the first four minutes of meeting a candidate.

As a job seeker, your interview process will generally always include evaluating whether or not a particular employer or position is right for you. This is a natural and essential part of the employment process, but you may have your part of the decision eliminated if the employer decides that they are not interested in you. The best way to increase your own options: ensure that you make a great impression, so that you have more control over the ultimate decision.

It is essential to look focused when talking to hiring decision makers.

Within a short time span, you should be able to articulate

    * Your understanding of the position, industry and organization in which you would be working,
    * What you offer in terms of skills and experiences, and
    * How the position aligns with your interests and career goals.

Here are three quick ways to accomplish the above tasks and make a strong first impression:

1. Develop a brief soundbite on your interests and career goals that you can use with potential employers and in networking.

15secondpitch.com. This site provides a free "Pitch Wizard" that coaches you to develop a focused pitch targeted on the needs of your audience. At the conclusion of the pitch, your pitch will be placed on a template of a business card--if it doesn't fit, you know you need to condense and refine your message. If it does fit, you can even purchase the cards--and add your picture to increase your chances of "total recall."

2. If you have a very specific career goal, use your pitch consistently and across multiple platforms. Use similar language and phrases to discuss your skills, career goals, and interests--from your resume and LinkedIn profile to your answer to the "tell me about yourself" question in an interview.

Note: If you want a role model for this, look at politicians. To be successful in the polls, politicians generally have to pick a position, defend it, and stick with it. If they are inconsistent or waver in their views without articulating why they have modified their positions, they are frequently labeled as having "flipped flopped" on their issues. (At the 2004 Republican National Convention, real "flip flops" were used as visual aids in reference to the presidential race. Don't let this happen to you!)

3. Monitor your online presence regularly to ensure that you are presenting your skills consistently and clearly.
Conduct an "ego search" by searching for your name in major search engines such as Google and Yahoo!, if a link isn't helping you--request to have it removed. Alternatively, if you want to be known for your skills, consider highlighting them. A great way to get started: Chris Brogan's ebook on Personal Branding.

Follow these three tips and you'll be on your way to creating a consistent message--just like a branding professional!

E. Chandlee Bryan, M.Ed., is President and Founder of Best Fit Forward, a boutique resume writing and career strategy firm. A former Ivy League career counselor and recruiter, Chandlee specializes in providing services and career advisement to emerging professionals; she also recently served as the "Resume Specialist" for Microsoft's "My Resume Talks" campaign.

Published At: 15 Second Career Success Strategy - Create a Personal Pitch With Punch

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