Career Compass: Perfecting Your Pitch

Spring is just around the corner – and with Spring comes the start of baseball season, which will begin with the ceremonial first pitch thrown out on Opening Day. Preparing a good “pitch” is also an essential task for successful job seekers in any season. A “pitch” is a communication tool you should use to convey who you are, which may include your education, work experience, skills, and career interests.

The “30 Second Pitch”

Commonly known as the “elevator pitch,” this is a quick pitch (10-30 seconds) which you can use to introduce yourself and your career interests to start a conversation with a potential employer or networking contact. This pitch is useful when meeting business professionals at career fairs, networking events, informational interviews or in other informal settings, and should be tailored to the event and circumstances.

A 30 second pitch for starting a conversation with a business professional at a career fair or networking event could go like this:

“Hello, my name is _________________. I am a Junior, majoring in Finance at UIC. I’ve been active in UIC’s Portfolio Management Team and I really like researching companies and their performance in the market. I’m looking for an internship where I can use my analytical skills and my finance knowledge, while learning more about ___________ and _______________. I saw that your firm does quite a bit of ___________, and I would like to learn more about that. Would you please tell me more about this area and also the types of projects that your interns work on?”

The “2 Minute Pitch”

Nearly every interview starts with a broad introductory question such as: “Tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume.” When responding to this type of question, job seekers should avoid simply reciting their resume information. Instead, it is important to prepare a longer “pitch” to share your story – in 2 minutes or less.

Your 2 minute pitch response to “Tell me about yourself” should:

  • Tell the story of your educational & professional journey so far (in chronological order)
  • Highlight your key experiences, including:
    • Why you chose these experiences, jobs, academic major, etc.
    • What you especially enjoyed or thrived on in these experiences
  • Emphasize only those parts of your background that are relevant to your audience
  • Reflect your own unique strengths, personal qualities, skills – your personal brand!
  • Help the interviewer see the connection between your past experiences & skills, and your interest in and fit for the position and the company

Preparing, practicing and delivering a confident pitch will enable you to successfully present yourself to recruiters, interviewers, or potential business contacts. Check out the variety of upcoming career workshops and special events offered by the Business Career Center and plan to ramp up “spring training” for your job search!