‘Pitch’ ≠ Dirty Word

Coming from a sales background, I consider “pitch” to be a dirty word. It is a term we attribute to ad men and sleazy car salesmen on TV. I think this is why business students often shy away from the idea of an elevator pitch. Somewhere in our lives, we have been conditioned to think it’s bad to “sell” ourselves to an employer. However, I believe we need to get rid of this stigma and begin to look at an elevator pitch as a way to relate our personal brand to prospective employers. Discussing our strengths, goals, and passions should not be something any of us shy away from.

Sure, the idea of serendipitously running into your favorite CEO on an elevator ride might seem a bit absurd, and for 99% of us, this will never be how we gain value from this exercise. I think we really get value from this when considering what kind of job we want to do. Thinking about what we are truly good at and love doing is something many of us often spend too little time on. Exercises like this really make us sit down and take stock of these things. On top of that, it gives us some insight into what companies we may or may not fit with culturally.

So while it may feel cheesy giving one of these speeches, we need to get better at owning our personal brand. This is a condensed version of all the reasons an employer should hire us. For my own pitch, I try to really reinforce the things about myself I want employers to know. I push my experiences dealing with customers and my comfort level talking to people. I also push my love for technology and graphic design. These are two areas that are very important in the types of jobs I am looking at and I think the diversity of some of my experiences also help to set me apart from other prospects. Just writing it here makes me feel a little silly, but I know that becoming comfortable discussing my strengths is the only way to get employers to remember me.

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John Carter

About John Carter

John is a first year MBA candidate at the Tippie School of Management with a focus in Marketing. He has worked as a medical consultant for a major surgical equipment manufacturer as well as working as CMO for a mobile SaaS start up. John has a BA in Marketing and Management Sciences from the University of Iowa and plans to work in brand management after completing his degree.