Getting ready to attend a job fair or industry networking event? You’ve probably heard that perfecting an elevator pitch – essentially, a 20- to 30-second statement that sums up your ideas and aspirations – can really help you stand out from your job competition. That couldn’t be more true, says Melanie Lundberg, director or talent management and corporate communications for Combined Insurance.
Of course, everyone else is trying to put together their introductory speeches as well, so Lundberg was kind enough to share tips for differentiating yourself from other job seekers. Here are her top 3 things to incorporate into your pitch, and adapt for longer job interview discussions.
1) Know your strengths.
“Think about all the positive feedback that you have received throughout your career or even in school,” says Lundberg. “What has been consistently said about you that is positive, and that you are also confident is a key strength that you possess?” Try to think beyond obvious blanket statements such as “I’m a natural leader” or “I’m a team player.”
2) Prove it.
It’s not enough to simply say that you’re a problem solver. “You need to articulate the results you achieved,” says Lundberg. What did you deliver at your last company, and how did you make a notable impact? State what you achieved for the company, and get specific. For instance: How much cost savings did you provide with that new process improvement? How were you able to increase sales under your leadership? How did you improve customer service and by what percentage? The more quantitative metrics you can offer, the better.
“This is what truly differentiates average candidates from the “star” candidates that a company wants to hire,” says Lundberg. “Companies want employees who know the value of execution and delivering results, and are able to communicate it.”
3) Bring it home.
Lastly, finish up by describing your most significant accomplishment, the one that you are most proud of, in your career. And don’t be shy! “I look for “achievers” when I interview, and want to see how a person lights up or possibly doesn’t when they talk about the most significant achievement, in their mind,” says Lundberg.
In summary, your goal should be to succinctly describe the role you played and your key attributes; the impact you had; and your most memorable achievement. Do that, and you’ll no doubt make a strong impression.