Your pitch is a brief introduction to yourself: a smart, effective presentation.
Historically, it has been used as a way for screenwriters to sell their ideas to film producers! They present an enticing story that makes the producer want to hear the rest and convince them it would be a worthwhile film to make.
It works the same way in recruitment. You are the author of the story, and the recruiter is the producer who has to believe in your success and offer you a job!
Be Prepared to Deliver Different Types of Pitches
It’s your turn now to “pitch” your career. Use and abuse it (your knowledge and experience) when you’re looking for a job, especially when meeting for the first time.
Different occasions will allow you to pitch yourself, and you’ll need to adapt the duration of your pitch to each:
A meeting with friends or at work: allow yourself 30 seconds to explain what you do and what you’re looking for, making the most of your network.
A networking event: in general, these 30 seconds are useful for grabbing the attention of the person you’re speaking to—and sometimes they’ll allow you longer because they’re interested!
A job interview: Keep it concise—2-3 minutes tops.
Let’s go a bit further into this job interview and work together on creating your three-minute pitch.
Structure Your Job Interview Pitch
Recruiters all want to know if an applicant matches the profile they're looking for.
Making the most of this profile presentation alongside your skills and experience eliminates all their doubts!
Clearly you’re not going to improvise! This brief introduction has to be prepared in advance.
This pitch must not exceed three minutes. Concision is important to present all relevant information that directly impacts the job, as well as to keep the recruiter’s attention.
You’ll mainly use the work you’ve already done. The key assets you’ve identified within your experience will be essential here! The recruiter wants to hear your story, but first and foremost, they want to know your strengths. Your pitch will focus on the experience, skills and qualities required for the job!
Criteria present in the job posting
My experience/skills appropriate for the job
Your ability to convey technical information at different levels
Company XYZ: event coordination with the regional teams
You have a perfect command of French
English/French bilingual, International Client Manager at XYZ
A third language is an advantage
B2 level in Spanish
You have international experience
Internships: 8 months in France and 4 months in Spain
Practice writing out how you would pitch these skills and experiences, then say it out loud and continue to fine-tune the wording until it sounds clear, natural and persuasive.
Instead of following the logic of your résumé, start your pitch with one example of an experience you’re proud of, and that is directly relevant to the desired profile. This way, the recruiter will want to find out more about you and will remain attentive until the end.
This will be your tagline and will set the tone for your pitch. It must attract the recruiter’s attention.
You can either opt for a conventional style, or take a gamble with something more original. Here are some options and examples.
Pick a criterion in the job posting that seems important to you and describe your best experience illustrating how you use this skill.
For example: “I read in the job posting that you are looking for a Facebook community manager. I’ve been a volunteer community manager for a small charity Facebook page for the last three years. I currently publish three times a week and have 10,000 followers, which enables us to find new donors.”
If this option seems rather risky to you, and you're feeling lost for inspiration, then approach the recruiter in a more conventional way and tell them about your career to date, presenting your strengths that relate directly to the job.
For example: “I’ve spent 10 years doing various customer-related jobs in large-scale retail. I’m currently retraining to become a web developer. I’ve obtained my diploma from OpenClassrooms, and I’m ready to put these new-found development skills to use, combined with my problem-solving skillset from my customer service background."
Sell Yourself Using the CAB Method
As great as it is, your tagline isn’t enough. You need to set out why exactly you’re right for the job without going over the three minutes!
Craft your pitch carefully. Only tell your interviewer the essentials of what they need to hear: in what ways are you the right applicant?
Remember, you highlighted what you would bring to the job when you wrote your three-part cover letter. Point out two or three significant examples of experience in your career to date that prove you correspond to the person they’re looking for.
Characteristic: What have you been successful in doing? In what way/situation? What are the results?
Advantage: What skill have you acquired? In what ways have you grown through this experience?
Benefit: Which of the company’s needs are you going to meet?
Characteristic: "I’ve spent 10 years doing various customer-related jobs in large-scale retail."
Advantage: "I’m ready to put these new-found development skills to use..."
Benefit: "…my problem-solving skillset from my customer service background."
Include Your Winning Criteria
Remind your interviewer briefly of other aspects of your application that you are proud of and would be of importance for the recruiter, such as your:
mastery of certain tools
You can adapt to the needs of the job. No need to go into too much detail on these points, it’s just a question of reminding the recruiter of them and using them as additional stepping stones to add some oomph to your presentation.
Stick to a Positive Dynamic!
Incorporate all the strengths from your application into your speech.
Keep a positive vision of your career to date, your experience and the ways in which you have overcome challenges.
You need to show the recruiter that you have what it takes to be successful in this position!
The recruiter will come back to all that later if they need to know more! Don’t forget that as soon as you’ve finished your pitch, they’ll move onto the questions.
Influence the Recruiter’s Questions
Everything you’ve included in your pitch is material that the recruiter will reuse to ask more in-depth questions to learn more about your professional experiences and behavior.
Choose clear, structured talking points that will give the recruiter as much to work with as possible!
End the Pitch on a High Note
Apparently, people remember the last words said best—take advantage of this!
Summarize using a key element from your application (an example from your past experience): “With my knowledge of community management tools…”
Detail how you are now maintaining and expanding this skill and expertise: “…and the training course in new SEO methods I'm currently taking…”
And project yourself into the next phase of your future within the company: “…and I’d be delighted to put these skills to good use on your next projects!”
And then smile! 😊
Just like the tagline, the conclusion is very important. The goal is to make the recruiter remember you, believe in your ability to be successful in the job and want to know you better! Briefly confirm your desire to join the company and express your motivation, your strength of conviction: Yes, we can – together!
Let's Look at an Example Pitch
Context: Nicholas is applying for the job of “Events Manager – Reception Organization” in a rapidly-expanding start-up specializing in luxury events. This job requires substantial experience in event planning, in-depth knowledge of the luxury sector, and willingness to manage a team.
Let’s see how Nicholas is going to structure his pitch.
He starts with a Characteristic tagline:
“For five years, I specialized in organizing holiday events for major department stores and their high-end clientele.”
Then, the Advantage:
“I’ve worked with a lot of international partners. My manager made me responsible for expanding the customer portfolio.”
And the Benefit:
“I like working with this kind of clientele. Last year I succeeded in increasing annual turnover by 30%.”
Now it’s time to talk about these various key assets.
"I recently completed an online course in sales management and have found a tutor to help me refresh the French I learned during my internship in France."
Conclusion: where he sees himself within the company
“Based on this experience, I’d be delighted to join X Company. My ambition is to move toward team management and lead larger-scale projects.”
Get in Practice
It’s essential to get in practice and be completely at ease when the time comes to give your pitch!
Optimize Your Time
Three minutes is short—but it can also be long! It’s important to know what three minutes feels like, otherwise you’re going to run over.
Try the following exercise: set a timer on your phone and stay silent for three minutes. That’s the amount of time you’re going to use to sell yourself to the recruiter.
Also, time yourself when you practice your pitch out loud. This will keep you aware of your timing and pacing. Break the pitch into three stages, each of which should not exceed one minute.
Your opening tagline
Your key experience, strengths and additional assets
Your closing statement: how you see yourself
Rehearse Your Pitch Like an Actor
By the day of the interview, you’ll have rehearsed your pitch so well you’ll know it by heart.
The aim is not to deliver your pitch mechanically, but rather to feel so comfortable with the script that you’ll be able to let yourself go on the day. It doesn’t matter if you change certain words during delivery. What counts is to stick to the ideas developed and the timing, to convey the intended message effectively!
Gain As Much Interview Experience As Possible
The more interviews you have, the better you’ll get at it! It’s like everything else: if you practice and experiment, you’ll slowly but surely improve!
Apply to as many jobs as makes sense for your specific profile so you can attend a lot of interviews. Sign up for job events and fairs, interact with employers or recruiters, take part in workshops organized by job centers, regional employment centers, etc.
The more interviews you get under your belt, the more comfortable you’ll be with your pitch, answering questions, and “selling” yourself effectively to a recruiter. And when you're not getting experience with an actual recruiter, remember to practice with a friend (or even in front of a mirror)!
You're nearly finished with this course! You've invested significant work into ensuring that you're ready to communicate effectively to recruiters that you're the right person for a position.
Now get out there and land your next job! 😁