A simple guide to pitching skills to employers
We should all be able to answer this simple question: “Tell me about yourself” but after delivering a variety of workshops, running hundreds of mock interviews and engaging with audiences during Careers Fairs, I have come to the conclusion that not only is this question very tricky but it is also one of the most dreaded among young jobseekers.
Introducing your skills and experience seems simple enough but young jobseekers often get flustered when under pressure. That is why it is crucial to set aside some time with young people and help to prepare their pitch.
After hearing countless amount of pitches, here comes my secret to the perfect skills pitch….
MAKE IT UNIQUE
During my workshops, young people spend significant amounts of time preparing their skills pitch and many times they ask for help in writing it or having an example to follow. Both options do not lead to fruitful results
The former because you get in the trap of writing it for them which means they will forget it very quickly as it does not represent their skill set. The latter due to the fact that they will only slightly adjust the example creating another cliché pitch.
To start the process of creating the skills pitch, provide young people with the scenario of an elevator pitch with the aim of seeing what comes to their mind when they need to pitch their skills.
The scenario goes like this:
Imagine getting into an elevator and bumping into an influential person who could change your career drastically. Within 60 seconds of going down in the elevator how would you sell your skills to get their contact details?
The information that young people provide in this exercise will serve as the basis for their pitch
GIVE IT A STRUCTURE
During the elevator pitch exercise, young people with come up with lots of unstructured and unrelated information. It is a good start but some flow is needed.
An impressive skill pitch should answer the 3 key questions:
WHO ARE YOU?
- In other words, how would the young person describe themselves? For example current IT student, recent Creative Arts graduate, expert in coding, aspiring entrepreneur
WHAT SKILLS/EXPERIENCE/ACHIEVEMENTS DO YOU HAVE?
- The young person should identify 2 or 3 skills/experience/achievements that are worth sharing with the employer and instead of just listing them demonstrate how that would benefit the future employer. It is very impressive if young people can stress what they bring to the table
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
- In other words, what are the young person’s aspirations? For instance: part-time job, work experience placement, full time job within certain industry, apprenticeship
Once the first draft is available, young people will time need to practice is. As much as skill pitch looks great on paper, young people need to have a chance to say out loud to brush up on their confidence and body language. As with everything in life: the more practice the easier it gets!
A fun way to practice is the pitch is to create an environment simulating networking event or Careers Fair.
Within both scenarios, young people take turns to act as an employer and young jobseekers not only practicing their pitch but also gaining insights into the pitches of other colleagues.
The beauty of the skills pitch is that it can be used within a variety of professional situations, giving young people the edge to stand out.
Written by K Mitura