You are the product or service you know the most about
When you go for an interview the interviewer doesn’t want a speaking version of your CV or resume, they want to employ a person who can do ‘stuff’ for them to help their department or business.
Just think about the advertisements you see on TV, remember Ronseal’s now immortal line, “does what it says on the tin”? You can do a lot in terms of product placement in 30 seconds. How many of you have ever practiced doing this for yourself?
We all tend to focus on baggage that we collect in our careers, we all know how difficult it is to get our CV down to a single sheet because we would have to leave things out and we are precious about them.
If you have ever had to do a lot of hiring and hence read a lot of CVs you will have spotted the deliberate error in this sentence. Yes I said “read” and that’s exactly what hiring managers haven’t got time to do. They scan, they look for key words, they look for presentation, they hate small fonts, technical details and acronyms. Most of that becomes kind of irrelevant.
Lets say you were going to purchase a used car, you would know something about the type and model of car, you would probably fall in love with the colour and the condition, you would want to know that it drives ok from the here and now but you wouldn’t be interested in the car recounting its last 20,000 miles to you would you? Also remember the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’, just as a car is an emotional purchase, so is hiring someone. You could have the best CV in the world but if you are not likeable, you won’t get the job! The interviewer ‘needs’ some skills, get them to ‘want’ you!
What does it say on your tin?
So develop and perfect a 30 second pitch that sells ‘you’. Concentrate on 3 areas:
- Think about what is significant and relevant to the company interviewing you, not doggedly what is most recent.
- Think about your strengths and skills, talk about what you can actually ‘do’.
- Connect the dots, tell a story, make it interesting not a career log.
I can hear you all saying, that’s very easy to say but very hard to do. It is, and guess what? Few people take the time or the effort to do it so that’s why doing it will positively differentiate you from the other candidates.
Given that the typical interview lasts 60 minutes, think about how powerful a 30 second, well rehearsed elevator pitch for ‘you’ judged at the right time near the start will be. The other 59 minutes and 30 seconds will be much richer and you should feel in a better position to ask the interviewer questions at the end. This will create a more memorable encounter than just another interview and place you higher on the candidate ranking.
Connecting the dots gives you some provenance and creates a story and people remember stories!