What is a “pitch” and why do I need one? How do I write one?
A pitch is basically an elevator speech. No longer than two minutes, it explains who you are, what you‘ve done and why someone would be interested enough to interview you.
Why do you need one? A pitch is an advertisement for you. It is your branding statement. You can use it when networking, in an introductory phone call, in your cover letter, in your resume, in your interview and in your follow up influencing letter. And, yes, you can use it in the elevator, subway car or plane when you first meet someone and introduce yourself. The pitch needs to be tailored to the industry and the company of the person you are talking to.
There are four parts to a pitch.
Position Yourself – What do you want people to know about you? It could be “I am a digital marketer with ten years’ experience working in the retail clothing industry” or “I solve computer problems so your staff can be more productive.” What is one more thing you want people to know about you? Or “I am an international lawyer with a strong mergers and acquisitions background.” Then say, I have worked in Japan, Germany and Peru.
Differentiate yourself – As with product branding, what makes you stand out from the competition? Use the language of the industry you want to reach. My top skills combine expertise in pedagogy with management and distance learning. My experience includes team building, forecasting and strategic planning. After you say you can network computers then you say “and I have managed projects teams to bring projects in on time and under budget”.
Relate Your Accomplishments – What is the third most important thing you want to say about yourself? Add one or two key problems you have solved with the results. Start each sentence with an active verb, and quantify the results in numbers, dollars, and percentages. “I launched online programs that increased revenues by 20%.” Don’t give all the details, just say enough to get them interested and then say, we can talk more about that later.
Make Your Ask – I am looking for a position as a software developer in the financial services industry, or, I am searching for an opportunity as a digital content editor in the non-profit space, or, I would like to be your developer of online learning. I am very excited to talk to you today because I can help solve your problems.
Write out your pitch. Refine it. Edit it. Then practice it so you know it by heart. Practice in front of the mirror. Practice in front of friends. Then know it so well that you can say it in a conversational tone. It should not sound robotic, stilted or memorized.