Will you be ready? You find yourself at the moment – face to face with that one person who might be able to help you get a foot in the door of that company that you have been DYING to work for – what will you say? These steps will help you prepare to embrace the opportunity and knock it out of the park with your “time to shine” elevator speech.
1. Make it a conversation. Take a deep breath and engage – don’t spiel. Use the short amount of time that you have to sell less and engage someone in conversation. A good leading start might enable you to hit the high points of your professional background without offering up an oral version of your paper resume.
2. Concise, Clean and Engaging. Focus on your strengths and figure out how to draw attention to them in a professional conversation without talking “at” the individual. You don’t want to have a one-sided conversation - which likely won’t impress anyone and may leave you knocking yourself in the head for not stopping to breathe or let someone else ask questions. Keep it short and compelling – just like a sales pitch. You are selling – yourself!
3. Think Value. Share your accomplishments. Write them down and know them, especially those that show your demonstrated value. Focus on proven results and accomplishments, verses reciting your previous employers.
4. Avoid jargon. Buzzwords and jargon or “trade speak” might be beneficial in resume writing for key-word searches in ATS databases but rattling off showy buzzwords and corporate jargon may seem overly casual and frankly might annoy your listener. Think in terms of being an “uber-professional” and stay results focused.
5. Prepare and Practice. Prepare your pitch, know your strengths and accomplishments and recite them until they sound like natural and roll off your tongue in conversation. You don’t want to appear forced or too rehearsed.
6. Prepare for the “unexpected”. A successful pitch should be the start of a conversation. If you successfully express your background and accomplishments chances are good the listener is going to have follow-up questions. Chances are good, too, that you might not see all of them coming. Don’t panic! This is where confidence and knowing your strengths and abilities come into play. Embrace the opportunity to respond – even to those that might require a few seconds of thought. It is ok to pause and to collect your thoughts. No one will discount the few seconds it takes to ensure that you are responding in the best way possible.
Create your story based on your strengths and quantifiable accomplishments. Practice telling it, prepare for the unexpected opportunity to share it and most important “breathe!”