Creating a Strong Sales Pitch

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Having a quality personal sales pitch is a necessity for every job seeker.  Your personal sales pitch should be used in all of your correspondence, including your cover letter.  It should be used when communicating with potenital employers and in answering interview questions.

The sales pitch needs to be geared towards the type of organization you are interviewing with and the type of position you are seeking.  As you communicate with potential employers you will want to share your pitch with clarity and enthusiasm.  It is vitally important that you practice reciting your pitch, and parts of your pitch, so it comes across in a natural manner.  Practicing your pitch will allow you to control your message and help you to eliminate poorly phrased responses and long uncomfortable pauses.

The personal sales pitch is composed of three sections – a summary of your resume; a listing of your skills, abilities and traits; and a description of your current situation.  A person should be able to recite the entire pitch in less than two minutes.  The entire pitch will be used for answering questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Why should we hire you”.

Depending upon the question you are being asked in a job interview, you could answer it with the entire pitch, or one of the three subsections.  For example, if you were asked the question “What is your experience in working in this industry”, you would answer this question by reciting your first section, the summary of your resume.  If you were asked the questions “What are your strengths” or “How would your colleagues describe you”, you would answer this question by using your second section, a listing of your skills, abilities and traits.  Finally, if you are asked the questions “Why are you looking to leave your current position”, you would answer this by reciting your third section, your current situation.

As you create your personal sales pitch, always be positive in your response.  If you are currently unemployed, do not say that you are unemployed because your previous boss didn’t like you.  Instead, be prepared for this question and develop an answer that sounds plausible in a neutral tone, and then transition into selling yourself using either your experiences in the industry or your skills and strengths.  In other words, share your strengths and why they should hire you. Ultimately, the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 8 books.  Check out his new book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition.

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Where Should I Begin?

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

Mark and Sara are both searching for a job in the sports world.  Mark is a former college football coach whose contract was not renewed after five years and Sara is a recent graduate with a master’s degree in Sports Management.  Both are looking for a job in college sports, but each is at a different stage in their career – how should they proceed?

Mark knows that he wants to continue to coach but he is having a difficult time getting an interview.  Sara on the other hand is confused as to what type of job or career she wants.  They both seek the assistance of a career coach to help them with their search process.

The career coach shares that there are five stages to the job search process:

  1. Assessment Stage
  2. Preparation Stage
  3. Connection Stage
  4. Interviewing Stage
  5. Follow-up Stage

In Mark’s situation, the career coach suggests that since he knows what type of job he is interested in, the majority of his energies should be focused on the preparation and connection stages.  The preparation stage would have him review his cover letter, resume, references, and sales pitch.  He needs to make sure that his sales tools are excellent, and that they are effectively selling him.  The career coach continued by explaining that most jobs are secured through networking, and that the connection stage would help him to be active and effective in networking within the profession.

In Sara’s situation, the career coach suggested that she begin her job search process in the assessment stage.  She needs to understand the various types of jobs that exist in the sports industry, and to understand which type of job best fits her personality, skills, and lifestyle.  The career coach went on to share that during the assessment stage, Shannon will also discover her strengths, weaknesses, skills, and abilities.  These will help her as she identifies what type of career she wants to pursue, and in developing her promotional materials.

The career coach also recommended that both Mark and Sara spend the majority of their attention, at this point, within their specific job search stage, but the coach went on to suggest that they familiarize themselves with the other stages as well.  This is so they will be prepared to interview when the time comes, and to properly follow-up after an interview.

So where should you begin?  If you are lost and not knowing what type of job you want – you’ll start with the assessment stage.  If you know what type of job you want but aren’t getting interviews – you’ll need to assess your situation and focus on both the preparation and connection stages.  And if you are getting interviews but not the job offers – you’ll want to focus on both the interviewing and follow-up stages.  The key is that you know the basic fundamental skills that are associated with each stage of the job search process and that you effectively perform these skills.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 8 books.  Check out his new book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition.