What You Need To Know About Pitching Yourself
You can’t uncover opportunities and create opportunities if you can’t effectively pitch yourself.
The first part of this is your orientation. By orientation, I mean are you thinking about yourself or are you thinking about the company or the person to whom you’re looking to pitch?
Now you’re probably sitting there saying, “Oh, Pamela, of course I’m thinking about them first”. But reinventors make this mistake all the time.
What does this look like?
Okay, you hear about this opportunity, you see this job posting and you think, “I am great for this. I am perfect for this. I know I have all the skills, I can do this. So I just need to tell them just how great I am and they’ll want to hire me”. If this is the case, you are thinking about yourself and not them.
What does an orientation “to them” look like? It’s thinking about what are their problems, what are their pain points, what are the goals that they’re looking to accomplish? And from that vantage point, asking yourself how you can contribute to solving their problems, to relieving their pain points, to helping them reach their goals.
See the difference?
Point number two has to do with your accomplishments. This is about showing show them a track record of success. Again, a big mistake that most reinventors make is that they start talking about what they’ve done in the past.
For example, saying things like, “I’ve managed people, I’ve managed a budget, I’ve installed the new system in our department”. That’s all well and good but these aren’t accomplishments, they are tasks of the job.
Accomplishments are how you moved the needle.
So if instead, you can say, “I reduced mistakes in our department by 20% by implementing this new system”, that is an accomplishment. Or “my team broke records and we were at 130% of our goal”, that’s an accomplishment.
There’s another piece to this. You’ve got to think of yourself as a constellation of skills and talents which you used to reach those accomplishments.
Skills and talents are what are transferable, not tasks. These are what allow you to move from industry to industry or to start a new business; you take those skills and talents that you were using in one job or career and you apply them to another.
The last part of this is to learn the language of the industry you’re interested in. If you’re not speaking the same language, then you’re not going to be understood. If you speak their language, however, then it lowers the barriers.
It’s just like going to a foreign country. If you’re in a foreign country and you’re not speaking their language, you can’t make yourself understood. But if you start to pull in some words, you will make them feel more comfortable—you don’t even have to be fluent.
It’s the same in reinvention.
As an example, let’s take the word “traffic”. Now you’re probably thinking traffic, aren’t those cars on the street? They are If you’re an urban planner. But if you are in television or radio, traffic means the ads that run in among the programming. And if you’re online, traffic is how many unique visitors are visiting your website.
So the same word traffic in three different industries means three different things. This shows you the importance of not assuming that the people you are talking to in a new industry are going to understand you.
How do you find these new industry terms? You can read blogs, you can read industry publications, and you can talk to people who are in the industry—I like to call them natives.
Now that you’ve got the three key points – orientation, accomplishments and learning the language—you can start to craft your pitch.
Let’s take a look at the different types of pitches!