When you are ready to think about your career, what do you do? Do you map out your career plan? Is it kinda fluid? Is it dependent on completing some degree and / or other coursework? Is your dream to do something so unique that no one has ever done it before? Or is your dream to just keep yourself employed throughout your career without any real plan for it?
That last one can be hard in and of itself. Just keeping full time employment is a task in itself with our economy – less people are retiring, there are more people out of work and looking for their next step and a lot of companies are struggling with the “new economy”. Of course then there are other factors such as global issues like war and refugees and potential financial issues within the US around student loan debt. I will be working on a post on this but the idea is that, much like the housing crash that led to a near financial collapse in 2007-2008, the student loans that have been packaged and repackaged and sold and resold (much like the mortgage instruments), could lead to another financial collapse.
Well, we all remember the curse, “May you live in interesting times.” We definitely live in "interesting" times. How do you manage the various external issues along with your need to manage your career?
I think it makes sense to focus on what you can control – which is you and your experiences and how you explain and share those experiences with potential career partners.
An important thing to do is to always have your elevator pitch ready; that in a nutshell what makes you special. With helping my clients get to their next steps, I am always shocked by how many know various languages but do not highlight it in their resume or in their elevator pitches. If you know multiple languages, you should promote that as it is a rarity to find people who speak more than one language and it can be the niche that gets you into a dream company.
If you do not know what belongs on your elevator pitch, think of this – what makes me good at what I do? What makes me better than the average person in this type of role? Or what diversifies me for where I want to be vs the competition? Some examples of the elevator pitch are below and can be inserted after someone asks you what you do or who you work for:
“I am the go-to person on my team for implementing change for technology projects; I am the only one who speaks business-speak and tech-speak…”
“As a PMO analyst, I travel the world and have found my knack for languages and programming code has made me a necessary part of various project successes…”
You can brag a little; not too much. You want the sentences you say to stand out and maybe spark a connection with whom you are talking to that says, “Hey, I know someone who needs a PMO analyst on their team….”
Of course, while using your elevator pitch, also listen carefully to who you are talking to is saying. Know when to ditch the pitch and just make a new connection. It is a balancing game between promoting yourself and turning off the people you have just met.
What do you think belongs in your elevator pitch? What do you think are good examples of pitch-worthy sentences? How do you know when to use it and when to ditch it? Let me know in the comments below, via any of my social media links or via email. Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen