Tips For An Effective Pitch
1. Be New
- Leave your old identity—shift your identity away from who you were to who you want to be. If you start by telling people what you were doing, they will see you as doing the same old thing and not the new thing. Tell people what it is you are doing now—put yourself out there.
- Prompt—What identity do you want to leave behind? In two sentences, describe who you are/who you want to be.
- Action step—Tell 5 people about the ‘new you’ this week.
2. Be Positive
- Mental attitude matters—you can’t fake it. Attitude comes from two core feelings—fear and faith.
- Fear—you are relying on that part of you that is afraid that your reinvention won’t happen. Faith—the past of you which is filled with positivity, happiness, etc.
- Partner with your fear (fear is a constant companion—you can’t get rid of it!) so that it does not stop you. Use your fear to motivate you but don’t let it block you. The key is to identify what type of fear it is—functional fear (e.g. I’m running out of money) or false fear (no reality but still there in feeling).
- Functional fears—you can address and take care of these—take a temporary contract, for example, if the money is running out.
- False fears—you need to address these, too. One way is with ‘pattern interrupt’. Notice the fears that start on an endless loop. Your brain has created neurological pathways (which take time to create) around these, but you can interrupt these pathways and create new ones. When the thoughts start, focus on something different to interrupt the pathway (e.g. take a walk) and then replace the thought with new thoughts.
- Prompt—Identify the fears which are holding you back—are they functional fears or false fears?
- Action step—Journal about one of your recurring fears. What about your fears is true? What about it is false? Look at patterns of success in the past. Remind yourself of a time when you have achieved something good. By tapping to these memories, you can create new, repetitive thoughts—new neurological pathways—which can override the fearful ones.
3. Be Visible
- You need a strategy for putting yourself in the right place at the right time (serendipity!). Put yourself in the mix. It is when you marry intuition with practical strategy that the magic happens!
- For example, you might need experience in your desired field so you might be able to do strategic volunteering so that you can 1) be conversant in your new area 2) get expertise 3) meet the right people 4) test an idea—you won’t truly know if you like to do something until you try to do it.
- Prompt—What is your passion? Do you know enough about your new field of focus? How can you increase your knowledge in your desired field? Can you strategically volunteer?
4. Be What They Want
- General expertise is often not good enough to get you into your new desired field. If you are focusing only on your talents and what you have accomplished, you need to change your focus. Ask yourself—what do they want? What do they need? How can I help my potential new boss/company achieve success? How do you do this? Talk to ‘natives’ in the industry, read trade journals and see what people are talking about. Look at websites for companies you are interested in and see what they are discussing. If companies are public, look at their annual report / 10K to see how they measure success (note that companies LOVE to talk about when and how they are successful!).
- The next step is to demonstrate how you can do this. You need to look at what you have achieved in the past—see what skills/talents you have. On your resume, show your tangible accomplishments (not just what your job function was!) so that a potential new employer can see how you will help them.
- Prompt—How much do you know about your desired industry?
- Action step—Pick one industry you are interested in. Do some research to see how success is measured in this industry. Talk to ‘natives’ to increase your ‘vocabulary’. Look at your own accomplishments and see which skills/talents are transferrable to you’re the new industry. Re-write your resume (if necessary) to reflect this.
5. Be Unusual
- What makes you unique? How do you stand out from the crowd (in a good way), both in person and in writing? Why will a potential new employer choose you out of the stacks of resumes/interviewees they receive/see? Note that even if you have taken time off from work, you can still use something interesting you did during that time to make you seem interesting/motivated/attractive to an employer!
- Action step—Make a list of all the interesting things you have done in your life. For each posting you go for/person you talk to, see which thing from your list might help you stand out?
6. Be Understood
- Frame your pitch in the language/way it will fit with your desired field. Make sure you talk about your achievements in a way that a new employer will understand/connect with. Learn the language and use it!
- Action step—Create a translation sheet. Consult natives, blogs, trade publications, annual reports, etc. to learn the jargon. Again, things like volunteering can help here.
Coaching Action Steps
None – already in section above.