By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Editor’s Note: The Coffee House Mentor is a series of 10 topics that discusses all aspects of the job search process. This week’s blog is on developing your personal sales pitch and is the sixth article in the series.
Last week, the coffee house mentoring group discussed the four basic elements that a person should perfect so they can effectively promote themselves for a particular job or to a particular organization. The group discussed the purpose, structure, and format of both the cover letter and the resume. This week, the group would pick up where they left off and would discuss the purpose and structure of the personal sales pitch.
Rob welcomed the group and asked if any of the mentees had experience with a personal sales pitch. The group had briefly touched on the sales pitch last week, but they hadn’t gotten into the nuts and bolts of the pitch. Without much hesitation Rick spoke up and said that he had some experience with sales pitches. Of course he would since he was a basketball coach. Coaches need to be able to sell themselves and their programs to the student-athletes, parents, boosters, and administrators. And Rick was quite glib in his approach.
In discussing the personal sales pitch, Rick mentioned that he believed that a quality pitch is needed in all of your correspondence and communications. This includes selling yourself in cover letters and in how you answer interview questions. He goes on to say that through his research, he has developed a personal sales pitch that is composed of three sections. One section is an overview of your education, experiences, and achievements; or basically a summary of your resume. The second section lists your skills, abilities and traits, while the third section describes your current situation.
Depending upon the question you are being asked in a job interview, you could answer it using the entire pitch, or just one of the three subsections. For example, if you are asked the question “What is your experience in working in this industry”, you would answer this 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 by using your second section, a listing of your skills, abilities and traits. Finally, if you are asked the question “Why are you looking to leave your current position”, you would answer this by reciting your third section, your current situation.
As the group was feverishly jotting notes and discussing the topic, Rob reminded them that the sales pitch needs to be created in a manner that really sells them, but adjusted or tweaked so it is tailored to the position you are applying for. He went on to emphasize that a person needs to make sure that they communicate their personal sales pitch with clarity and enthusiasm. For this reason, it is important that you practice reciting your pitch so it comes across in a natural manner. Practicing your pitch will allow you to control your message and will help you to eliminate poorly phrased responses and long uncomfortable pauses during your interview.
Rob closed out the session by encouraging the group to really be prepared and organized so they are effective in selling themselves. This is accomplished by developing an organized personal sales pitch. He went on to remind them, as he does every week, 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 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com or his new book, Execute for Success, which will be released on October 1, 2013 and is available at a pre-publication discount at www.execute4success.com.