During my talks to job transition groups I hear a lot of great elevator pitches. In less than a minute you share who you are, what you do, and what sort of position you are interested in pursuing.

The Elevator Pitch
The elevator pitch is the topic of Barbara Rose's recent Dallas Morning News article, Learn to Sell Yourself in 60 Seconds. The elevator pitch is a quick and effective way of establishing credibility when introducing yourself. While many people develop well-crafted introductions for networking meetings, they don't realize their pitch can also be a powerful interviewing tool.

Tell Me About Yourself
Often, the first interview question asked is, "Tell me about yourself." My own "research" - having interviewed over 3,000 people face to face - indicates an overwhelming number of people have difficulty conveying their value proposition in less than a minute. Typically, they hit on a dozen different points in the resume without connecting the dots. Some try to hurry through their whole resume. Both of these are self-defeating because you loose the interviewer and more importantly - the job.

Getting it Right
Sharing your 60-second elevator pitch is the perfect strategy to answering the tell-me-about-yourself question. In a minute or less, you provide meaningful information that sets the stage for the balance of the interview. No rambling, no specific details. Just a clear snap shot of who you are and how you are different from the other three candidates competing for the same position.

One of the article's contributors, Mary Civiello, provides a three-step strategy to develop an engaging introduction:

1. Say who you are
2. Say what you do
3. Say why you do it better

When you are developing your introduction, Rose suggests avoiding generalities like, "I enjoy helping people." General statements are weak and they have no impact. They do not stick. "Helping people" is a concept that needs flushing out. A specific example to illustrate how you have helped people will drive home the point. Sharing you had the highest customer service rating scores in three of the last four quarters will catch their attention and help solidify you as the "expert." It is punchy and it sticks. The hiring manager is anxious to hear more.

Take time to craft your three-stage presentation. You'll want to practice aloud to work out the bugs and make sure you are staying under the minute mark.

The Payoff
Delivering concise, high impact stories that "combine a picture with your words...doubles the amount of time people remember you." This is critical, because once you leave the interview there are dozens of distractions to blur their impression of you.

Here are two examples from the article: A woman shares that she is a versatile customer service and operations professional whose travels through 48 states gave her valuable experience with diverse people. A financial controller who loves the game of golf compared his precision and follow-through of his golf swing to the diligence and thoroughness he brings to his professional work.

Your initial introduction is an excellent way to grab their attention. Then throughout the interview, share a handful of well-crafted success stories that will help them remember you and the value you will add to their organization. As the article states, "Polishing your pitch is the cheapest and most effective way to get or keep a good job in a tough market."

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