By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Mitch was on the 16th floor when he stepped on to the elevator and headed to the lobby. The elevator stopped at the 14th floor and Rob Stewart entered. Rob is the athletic director at the state university in the same midwestern state that Mitch is from. Mitch, being an intern at a small college, had hoped he’d run into Mr. Stewart at this convention so he could introduce himself. Now is his chance.
Mitch was prepared for this moment. He attended a Life Skills seminar earlier in the year that featured a career development specialist. As the doors of the elevator closed, Mitch reached out his hand and said, “Hello Mr. Stewart, my name is Mitch Caldwell.” This begun a 20 second conversation where Mitch was able to introduce himself and Rob Stewart suggested that Mitch call him.
This kind of introduction happens at every convention. The majority of these encounters, however, aren’t as smooth. Most times the intern bumbles around for something to say, and says nothing. But, Mitch had practiced his sales pitch and was prepared for this moment.
The Life Skills program that Mitch attended introduced him to all aspects of the job search process, including how to develop a strong personal sales pitch. The seminar leader shared that a quality sales pitch needs to be developed so that the pitch can be shared in a moment‘s notice. It might be in a chance encounter such as this conversation in the elevator or it might be in an interview when a member of the search committee asks “so tell me about yourself”. In either case, you need to be prepared to sell yourself.
Mitch followed up and contacted Mr. Stewart. This was one of his first networking encounters that truly helped Mitch to further his career. Mitch goes on to share that a personal sales pitch needs to have three sections. These sections include:
- An overview of your education, experience, and achievements; or basically a summary of your resume
- A list of your skills, abilities and traits
- A description of your current situation
With these three sections, 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. 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. However, if you are asked the question, “So tell me about yourself”, you’d answer using the entire pitch – all three sections.
The personal sales pitch is one of the most important elements of the job search process. It is every bit as important as your resume or your interactions during an interview. In fact, you will use your sales pitch in all of your sales messages including your cover letter, your interview, and your follow-up after the interview. Take the time to create a strong and effective sales pitch. Remember that the job will go to the candidate who is best 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.SportsCareersInsitute.com or his newest book Execute for Success at www.Execute4Success.com.
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