The Career Coach is In

Your 30-second commercial

People tell me I should have a strong elevator speech or a commercial. Why and what should it include?

Knowing how to articulate your value and your expertise in a short and concise way is immensely valuable to your networking and job search success...but to be effective, it has to be genuine and it has to have meaning. It's not just a summary of you or your career.

• Never memorize your 30-second commercial. It should come out differently every time. Just know what you want to say, and practice talking about it in different ways. You should know what points you want to hit, but it should sound genuinely conversational, not rehearsed.

• Avoid sounding like your résumé. Writing and talking are different, and should be approached differently.

• Instead of boring them with just a list of skills or experience, make certain you include strong "value" statements - something that cuts to the heart of what you help your employers achieve (i.e., the benefit from the work you do). So instead of just saying "I'm a Controller with 22 years experience" you could say "My speciality is looking after a company's most prized possession - their balance sheet. I look after the bottom line and help companies achieve more with the resources they have." Then you can say "I'm a Controller with over 22 years experience..."

• When you deliver your 30-second commercial, practice making it sound natural. This may take a bit of practice, but make certain you throw in the pauses, inflections, and little features that make conversational speech natural

TIP: Here's a little exercise to practice sounding natural. Pick a topic you know LOTS about. It could be anything--cooking, gardening, football, art, whatever--and start talking about it. Chances are you know what to say, you sound intelligent, AND you sound natural because it's not rehearsed. You just know what to say. That's the conversational tone you want to shoot for - natural and professional.


Marshall Brown

 |  October 12, 2010; 6:32 AM ET  |  Category:  Career Change , Career Exploration , Interviewing , Job Search , Networking Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Is it time to leave your job? Pt. 2 | Next: Cover letters that work

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