Thursday, 23 January 2014

How to Write a Looking for Work Pitch



How to Write a Looking-for-Work (elevator) pitch: a useful Guide for the Jobseeking Social Media Group Member

With the growing trend of Australian employers following the lead of American businesses in becoming social media active – and savvy – many employers and recruiters are now using Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google Plus, Pinterest and the plethoric-gamut of other social media platforms to carry out a bit of background information research on applicants applying for their vacancies, and use that information to gain insight about the candidate and determine the person’s suitability to the company and position, oftentimes without the candidate even knowing they have been ‘checked out’ or considered.

Many jobseekers are also turning to using their social media accounts to help them with their quest to gain employment; joining local jobseeking groups on any of the social media platforms to network with other jobseekers has so many wonderful benefits, including the opportunity to connect directly with employers and recruiters.

As a jobseeking group member, you have a wonderful opportunity to not just search for a job, but also to be found!

After observing jobseeker pitches in a couple of Facebook Jobsearching Groups over the past few months, and witnessing far too many pitches that do absolutely nothing to create a positive impression or support the persons jobseeking plight, and worse, ends up leaving a negative one instead (which completely eliminates them instantly to any employer and fellow member viewing), today’s article will cover the basics of writing a looking for work ‘elevator’-style pitch.

But first...

What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch, for today’s purpose, is a concisely delivered spiel where the speaker is trying to persuade a listener to the speaker’s particular point of view.

Think: a scriptwriter pitching their movie or television show idea; an author pitching the storyline of a book; a lobbyist pitching a political view to a politician in the hope of gaining support.

In a typical scenario, the scriptwriter, novelist or lobbyist will have spent many times and ways trying to gain a few brief moments with the producer, publisher or politician only to be blocked and shut out from being able to pitch their wonderful idea to the person with the power to make it happen.  Then, after weeks and months trying, in this sudden, unforeseen miracle moment, when the producer, publisher or politician is relaxed and out of their office – and away from that dratted, nastily strict gatekeeper of a secretary who never puts the calls directly through and never passes the messages on – it happens: the person with the idea is suddenly presented with a short window of opportunity, and they have only a short elevator ride alone together for them to finally tell their idea to their target.

It’s very much like jobseeking, isn’t it.

They have 30 seconds to get the listener interested, and cannot afford to waste even a fraction of a second. So they pitch their well rehearsed spiel... and, as the elevator doors reopen and the decision maker steps out, he or she hands the idea-pitcher his or her business card and says, ‘Make an appointment with my secretary for next week and we can work out the finer details’.

Woohoo, the person successfully pitched their idea – finally, it might be about to all happen!

This only happens to the screenwriters, novelists and lobbyists who know their basic product so well that they are ready for those miracle moments.  Unfortunately, those that don’t deliver a perfect pitch which generates interest are left to travel back down the elevator alone – opportunity over.

In the jobseeking social media using world, you get opportunities to pitch to employers and recruiters and people who you network with, who may be able to introduce you to an employer or recruiter friend of theirs, so you need to be able to tell people a little bit about yourself at any given moment: you have 30 seconds to get the listener, me, interested – Go!

You don’t have time to ‘umm’ and ‘err’ Time is already ticking and you MUST make a good impression, or the listener will reject your idea, dismiss you as a candidate – and that is not an option! Is it?

Were you able to rattle off your perfect pitch just then, or are you now travelling back down in that elevator alone?

The Jobseeker’s Social Media Group pitch
As a jobseeker using a social media platform to connect with employers and recruiters, you aren’t pitching to employers and recruiters verbally, in an elevator; but, you still only have a small window of opportunity to get your message across to your audience.  Jobseekers aren’t pitching an idea for a movie, book or new law; jobseekers are simply pitching an ‘I’m looking for work’ spiel.

But as you have already realised by now, Facebook doesn’t provide you with the opportunity to pitch your ‘I’m looking for work’ spiel verbally.  No, but it does provide you with the opportunity to leave a written pitch, which can be read and judged until it eventually falls too far down in the newsfeed that only the most determined readers will bother to scroll down to... until you bump it.

Scary, huh?  Having however many forum / group members – all people who know people – able to read your pitch and make judgements about it.

Yes, judge it – often harshly.

But don’t complain about that: as humans, assessing a situation and making judgements is a necessary fact of life. It is our ability to assess and make judgements that prevents us from being harmed by that sinister looking stranger lurking over there with... is that a knife in his hand?

Employers too are skilled at making assessments and judgements, just like you are.  They just make judgements about you. And they make those judgements in a social media Jobsearching group when reading your pitch and checking your profile. 

So... before you write your ‘I’m looking for work’ pitch, do yourself a favour, right now, and check your profile.
 
What impression does your profile create?
What are your privacy settings? 
Will the person gain only a few basic details, or see everything, about you? 
What pictures will the employer find: you being a party animal, loving parent, shameless and sexily posed?
Will the employer or recruiter be able to read that post you wrote on Monday bagging out the state of things?

Now ask yourself: if you were a stranger and had to make a judgement (you are fully equipped to do so), would you make a positive judgement of what you are seeing with your own profile?  If you were an employer, would you hire that type of personality?

It’s best to check your profile out now, and make it completely jobsearch friendly. If you don’t want to change your profile and settings, maybe you should open a second account, and use it purely for your Jobsearching purposes.

So... now that you are 1. a member of a Jobsearching group and 2. have a ‘clean’ profile for employers and recruiters to look at, just how do you write a pitch that will entice employers and recruiters to check you out and give serious consideration that you might be suitable for their vacancy they haven’t yet told anyone about?

How to Write a ‘I’m looking for Work’ pitch

Employers with a vacancy are generally looking for a person who is interested in gaining that type of work and therefore they want to learn a lit bit about you (looking for that type of work) as a candidate.  In an interview, they often start the line of communication with, ‘Tell me a little bit about yourself’, and here on your social media forum / group, they have the very same question.

During interviews, too many jobseekers answer by telling the potential employer details of their personal situation, which is not the information the employer is seeking.  As I discussed in my post ‘Answering Interview Questions: Tell Me about Yourself’, which you can view by clicking the link, when asking this question employers are fishing for a brief overview of your professional history and interests.

So, in crafting your ‘I’m looking for work’ pitch, you need to write sentences that present your professional history and interests.

Simples?  Not really.

Not sure what to write?

A simple formula that you can follow is:
  • Introduce yourself
  • State what type of work you are looking – please, only one type of work (or you are being untargeted in your jobsearch approach)
  • Mention whether you are seeking full, part time or casual employment
  • Briefly (and concisely) describe the skills, experiences, licensing and qualifications that you possess that are relevant for the type of work you stated you are looking for
  • Briefly (and concisely) pitch why you would make a good candidate
  • Conclude with details on your preferred method for how employers can contact you e.g. PM (Private Message), phone, email etc.

For example, if I was looking for work I might write:

My name is Char Mesan, and I am seeking clients who want their resume assessed or totally rewritten as well as blog readers who require their jobseeking advice and assistance from an industry professional. I have ten years experience writing and creating visually-attractive, market-effective resumes and training jobseekers from all types of backgrounds and circumstances how to use effective jobsearch strategies. I am the holder of qualifications in Business, Administration, Employment Services, Management and Training and Assessment. I enjoy helping people who are looking for work to become empowered and motivated by their jobsearch instead of frustrated, and have experiences as the person who culled candidate applications and of working closely with employers to share so that my clients gain a competitive edge, faster and easier results in gaining a job, and yet my services are still affordable. I am happy for anyone interested in becoming a client to private message me, and I encourage all forum members to interact with me in the forum, like my Facebook page, and become regular readers of my Char Mesan Job Training blog, which you can access by visiting www.charmesanjobtraining.blogspot.com.au.

Did you learn anything about me in that pitch?

I may not be looking for paid employment, but my pitch still lets jobseekers know in only a short Facebook post a bit more about me and what I have to offer – and this is precisely what you are attempting to achieve with your pitch in looking for paid employment.

Now, there are a number of things that can go wrong with a written pitch.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing an ‘I’m looking for work’ pitch

Do
  • Use proper Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation. If your skills are poor, get someone to proofread before you post your pitch!
  • Use only positively worded language
  • Use concisely worded sentences
  • Keep the pitch to a single paragraph, under 200 words in length
  • Remember, employers visit your jobseeking group too (often lurking without you knowing they are there) and will form an opinion about you based on your words and behaviour in (and – depending on your privacy setting – out of) the group
  • Remember, employers and recruiters are likely to check your profile before they make contact, so make sure your profile isn’t going to turn an employer off
  • Specify the work you are seeking – “I’ll do anything” is untargeted and is not helpful in creating a good first impression or gaining you a job
  • Take your time and carefully craft your Looking for Work pitch offline, and once you are satisfied with your pitch and have had it checked by someone else, then, and only then, post it

Don’t
  • Don't highlight what you can’t do and or your jobsearch frustrations. Your aim in writing the pitch is to generate employer interest and make connections with Group Members who may be able to put you into contact with suitable employers, not whinge and vent your frustrations (share those with family and friend offline).
  •  Don’t pitch then ditch. Too often I have seen jobseekers pitch their looking for work, often claiming they would ‘do anything’, and then when a few members let them know about opportunities they ‘ditch’ their pitch (and the opportunities). Even if you have already applied for the role, or the job is completely unsuitable, the only response you should give is ‘thank you, I’ll follow up on that’ or ‘thank you, I’ll look into that!’ or even, 'thank you, I found that vacancy too and have already applied, but thank you so much for letting me know, and if you find any other vacancies like that, please continue share the details with me'
  • ·Don't use the word ‘but’ or the phrase ‘I can’t’.  Tell employers what you can do, not what you can’t. Highlight your positive skills and attributes; don’t draw attention to your prejudices and weaknesses.

So, now you have learnt the basics of how to write a looking-for-work pitch to use in your social media platforms, I hope to see lots of well-written pitches on the forums I frequent in the very near future!

Did you find this article helpful?  Please leave me a comment below, and feel free to share this article with other jobseekers.

Happy, motivated jobsearch!

Char Mesan

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