Wednesday, June 16, 2010

4 "P's" of Marketing Yourself, Part 1

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the second year MBA class at San Jose State University. These 50 students are facing a very challenging (but improving) hiring climate. What was refreshing to experience was how hungry they were for guidance and support. It is obvious that most business schools, like undergraduate programs offer little support to students beyond the dreadful career placement center. Below is Part 1 of material I covered with the students.

You have all heard of the “4 P's of Marketing”. Well, I have created “Mike’s 4 P's of Marketing Yourself!”: Pitch, Plan, Package and Presentation. Here is part 1....THE PITCH.

You are at a conference or a networking event and the person next to you in the drink line turns and asks, “So, what do you do”? As soon as intonation of the person’s sentence rose signaling the inbound question, you began to sweat. At first not noticeably but quickly you felt as though someone just poured a glass of water over your head. Your left eye started to twitch and just as you frame the words in your brain to respond, you stammered out a reply that made the person’s eyes glaze over and then order a double adult beverage.

Sound familiar? Well, don’t worry. You are in good company. It happens to darn near everyone when they are “in career transition”. If this is still happening to you, take heart. It won’t for long. What you need to develop is what is commonly called “your personal elevator pitch”. This is a concise, clear and powerful statement about who you are, why a company should hire you and what you can do for them.

It should be no more than 45 seconds, 30 if possible. The desired outcome of the pitch is to encourage the fortunate recipient to ask for your card and schedule a time for a longer discussion. Short of that, it is to cement an impression that you are laser focused, know who you are, what you want to do and are supremely confident in your abilities. The goal is to get that person engage further, question deeper about what makes you tick.

Crafting and honing a 30 second pitch literally takes hours of work before you become a master at the delivery. You should practice it in front of a mirror. Bribe a trusted friend to listen to your pitch. Rehearse it until you are dreaming about practicing! Then, practice some more.

Ready to give it a try? Then develop your pitch, email me when you are ready and we will set up a time and you can pitch me! I would be happy to listen to it. Just don’t make my eyes glaze over.

Mike Vanneman

1 comment:

  1. Great idea - and useful advice.

    When candidates have a focused, "Why you should hire me/what I'm all about" pitch, it gives hiring managers a real "ah-ha." i.e., "This person seems to understand their strengths and how they can help our business. I have an idea where this person could be useful."

    The worst cases are pitches that sell: a) futures; b) personal wealth aspirations; and c) lack of business knowledge (how business works). In many cases, the latter can be cured by getting a real job prior to the job search - which also creates employment "momentum." But that's probably one of your recommendations.