Crafting Your Pitch To Win Over Recruiters

Updated Nov 10, 2020 13 min

Introduction

 🏆 Goal

Impress the person you’re meeting and create a “Wow 🤩!” impression within the first 30 seconds of your conversation.

📗 When to Read

When you’re gearing up for the job search, read this guide so you get your pitch nailed down.. You’ll use it in exploratory conversations early on, and in interviews once you’re full-on searching.

🔑 #1 Tip

Tell an interesting, succinct, and authentic story that weaves together the defining moments of your career in an authentic way. People love stories!

⌚ Time Required

It should take about three hours to craft your pitch and practice it enough that it sounds confident, polished, and natural. It’s worth the time investment, we promise! 👊

✅ Done When

You have a strong response to the question, “tell me about yourself” and you know how to tweak your answer based on who is asking.

Understand

Your pitch, is a synopsis of who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for. You’ll sometimes hear it referred to as an elevator pitch because it’s meant to be the length of an average elevator ride: 30 seconds long.

While your pitch doesn’t actually need to be 30 seconds exactly, it’s best practice to keep it to 90 seconds. Think of your pitch as a conversation starter, not the be-all, end-all of your experience. When done right, the listener should be eager to learn more and have questions to ask. Long pitches start to feel like an uncomfortable monologue. 🙅 

When to Use Your Pitch

We’ll focus mostly on how to pitch in a job interview. That’s because most interviews start with the question, ‘Tell me about yourself,’, ‘Walk me through your resume,’ or some other variation that is a very polite way of saying, ‘Pitch me’! 😍

You’ll encounter many other instances where you can use your pitch to introduce yourself: 

  • Networking events

  • Meeting new colleagues

  • Coffee chats and informational interviews

  • Conferences 

  • LinkedIn profile summary (written format)

Your pitch also becomes the narrative for the story that you build your resume and Linkedin profile around. You’ll use it as a guiding voice as you develop this content.

Why Your Pitch is So Critical

90% of interviewer decisions are made in the first 3 minutes. Yep, you read that right. 😮 Your pitch can make or break your shot at getting a job.

If you don't have a good explanation about who you are, professionally speaking, a recruiter will think you're not self aware.

If your pitch is overly rehearsed, and sounds like you're reading off of cue cards, a recruiter will think you lack confidence and will be turned off.

If your pitch makes the interviewer has to solve a puzzle, a recruiter will tune out. 

The key is to be relaxed, confident and genuine. Connect with the human being listening to your pitch.

Control the narrative and make it 100% crystal clear why you’re the perfect candidate for the role. 

We’ll show you how!

What should I say?

Great question! Now that we’ve hit home the importance of your pitch and the array of scenarios you’ll use it in, let’s talk about what actually goes into it.

Great pitches have the following elements:

  1. One-Liner: High-level theme of your career and professional interests 

  2. Work Experience: Relevant roles and responsibilities that relate to the job you’re interviewing for

  3. Closing: Explanation of how your experiences tie together and led you to be here today

Your pitch is a story. Most people tell their story from beginning to end, in chronological order. Other people tell their story in reverse chronological order, just like a resume. The more traditional the organization, the more likely it is you want to keep the order chronological.

Let’s dive into the four elements of your pitch!

Craft Your Pitch

The most common use case for your pitch is saying it aloud to another person. Just like delivering a speech, you’ll want to figure out your talking points in writing, and then later work on making it sound good when delivered live.

So open up a new Google Doc and let’s start writing! 👩‍💻

PS - Fun fact: If you go to a new browser window and just type “docs.new” in the URL bar, it opens a new Google Doc. How cool is that?

One-Liner

Your one-liner has a huge impact on how effective your pitch is. 

It helps paint a picture in your listener’s mind, feel like the dots connect, makes it easy for them to understand, and adds to your credibility.

When developing your one-liner, think about how you would summarize your strengths, interests, and goals into a one-liner. To get your wheels turning, jot down your answers to the following questions:

  • What do I always keep coming back to?

  • What is the common theme of my work experience?

  • What long-term goal have I been working towards?

  • How would other people describe what I’m uniquely good at?

  • What do I always get positive feedback for?

Now, take what you most want to showcase about yourself and write out a one sentence summary.

Here are a few examples of great ways to begin your pitch:

Here are a few templates that we like for writing effective pitches. You’ll see we used these in the examples above!

  • “I help {kind of company} {how you help them} with a focus on {your unique differentiator}”

  • “{Job title} with a focus on {kinds of companies} with a passion for {your unique differentiator}. 

  • {Adjective} {job function} focused on {why they should choose you}”

Work Experience

After giving a “teaser” about your career path, it’s time to share a little bit more detail about your most relevant work experiences. The key word here is 🌟relevant. 🌟 You won’t have time to share every job you’ve ever had. Instead, you’ll talk just about the highlights. 

You can start with a blank document, and just write. Or, you can start from your resume. Either way, your goal is to list out the top 3 work experiences that will most set you up for success in achieving your job search goal. Just as if you were writing great resume bullets, you’ll want to focus on highlighting key accomplishments, Incorporating numbers to make your pitch more impactful. 

Let’s look at a few examples:

In each of these examples, it’s very clear how their prior work experience ties into their common thread and relates to the role they are interviewing for. This is how to build out your pitch into a compelling and persuasive story that lands you an offer! 💯

Closing

Every good story has a great ending, and the same goes for your pitch. Let’s tie up your pitch with a bow. The final touch that has a big impact!

Our goal here is to make it delightfully obvious why you’re in this interview right now. It should feel like everything comes together in a neat and clean package.

Let’s finish our example pitches and tie them all up! 🎁

Notice that all of these closings include reinforcement of your excitement about an opportunity. Employers want to hire people who are genuinely excited about working at their company. 

By reiterating your enthusiasm about an opportunity, you’ll show that this is more than just a job for you - it’s really something you want to be a part of. To do this, wrap up your pitch with a closing statement that directly expresses your eagerness. 🎉

What about education?

So here’s the thing about talking about your education… after you’ve had a few years in the workforce where you went to school or what you majored in really doesn’t influence an interviewer’s decision. When you have at least five years of work experience, that’s going to be a much more impactful selling point about your ability to add value because it speaks to the results you’ve already delivered.

When should you include your education in your pitch? Only if one of the following apply:

  • You graduated within the last five years 

  • Your degree is related to your common thread

  • Your school has a highly recognizable name with your interviewer

Education is important, but it’s not going to have as big of an impact on your career as your work experience. Not convinced yet? Remember that the interviewer can easily see your education on your resume and LinkedIn profile. 

Pitch Practice 

Alright, you’ve figured out what you want to highlight in your pitch, you’ve written out the key points, and decided on an enthusiastic closing statement. What’s next?

Great question. You’re about 75% of the way done. To rock your pitch, you have to be able to say it in a comfortable and confident tone. Having a strong pitch is about more than the words you say - it also involves how you present yourself in your overall demeanor.

It’s More Than Just Words

How you say it matters. This is true for all stages of the interview process, but it’s particularly important during your pitch because you’re in those initial, critical moments where you’re making your first impression.

Practice your pitch outloud and pay attention to the following: 

  • Tone of voice: It’s far more engaging to listen to someone who talks in an enthusiastic, confident, happy tone. By speaking clearly and conveying excitement about the conversation you’ll make the interviewer want to hear more and capture their attention. Speak slightly louder than you normally would and smile while you talk - positive energy is infectious!

  • Make it sound natural: We often see candidates who’ve rehearsed their pitch so many times that they sound like robots when they say it. It’s a fine line where you want to be prepared and comfortable with your pitch, but you don’t want it to come across as memorized. Aim for a conversational pace of speech with natural pauses and emphasis. Channel your inner politician! 

  • Body Language: If you were muted and someone could only watch you but not hear you, they should think to themselves “wow, this person is excited about what they’re talking about!” As you’re giving your pitch, smile, make eye contact, and maintain a strong posture. When you do those three things, how could anyone not love you!

Hear What A Top-Notch Pitch Sounds Like

Pop in your headphones and listen to the following examples of candidates giving their pitch statements in an interview context. Notice that these candidates strike the right balence of telling a compelling story about their experience, using an upbeat tone of voice, and tying their passions into the role they're applying for.

Scenario 1: Customer Success

Elise is interviewing for a customer success role at a growing tech company called Cando, which provides a SaaS solution for corporate program managers. This is her second-round interview and she’s talking with Ariella, who is a manager on the customer success team. The interview kicks off with the question “tell me about yourself.”

Scenario 2: Product Owner

Elise is interviewing for a product owner role at a small startup called Swift, a communication technology company. This is a first-round phone screen and she’s talking with Ariella, who is a talent acquisition manager. The phone screen kicks off with the question “walk me through your resume.”

Scenario 3: Marketing Manager

Elise is interviewing for a marketing manager role at a large financial institution called Johnson & Smith. She’s in the final round interview with the VP of Marketing, Ariella.

Practice Makes Perfect 

Between knowing what to say and being aware of your non-verbal communication skills, there’s a lot to keep track of! You’ll want to practice out loud.

To master your pitch, we recommend a combination of the following:

  • Say it out loud to yourself: Find a quiet space with no distractions and start talkin’! Open the Placement Practice App so you can record yourself and listen back to identify ways to improve. It might feel awkward at first, but when you practice out loud by yourself you’ll get used to the flow of your pitch and better remember the key points you want to include. 

  • Say it out loud to someone else: Grab a friend, family member, or colleague and practice giving them your pitch. You can even have them take on the role of the interviewer for a specific role so you feel super prepared for any upcoming interviews. Be sure to ask them for their thoughts - what did they hear? What did they like? How can you improve? Did you make a convincing argument that you’re a great candidate for the role?

  • Workshop it with a Talent Agent: We’ve got a team of world-class experts who can tell you exactly what you need to say to make your pitch impactful. This is one of the many benefits of our mock interview sessions (because you’ll of course be kicking off the mock interview with your pitch!). Schedule time with one of our awesome talent agents to get specific, actionable feedback on how to take your pitch and overall interview skills to the next level.

When you follow this three-pronged approach to practicing you’re going to be ready to kick off your interview on the right foot!