Presenting a Powerful Pitch

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By Hillary Stires, PhD
Post-Doctoral Fellow


What do you say when someone asks what you want to do in your career? This question can be intimidating for many science trainees in academia. Once you start understanding career opportunities and what career path you want to follow, you will need to demonstrate how you are a good candidate for that position or trajectory. A good way to do that is through your pitch which demonstrates how you are the right person for said career. This can also be intimidating because we tend to think about the skills we have gained at the bench or the complex pathways we have learned in class and forget that by training to be a scientist, we are required to communicate effectively, think analytically, and take initiative.

What is a pitch and why do you need one?

A pitch should be short. It does not necessarily have to be related to science but should instead focus on your career goals and aspirations. Once you have spent some time working on your pitch, you should use it at the beginning of a resume, when you sit next to someone on an airplane, on an informational interview, or as the opening to your LinkedIn. On a resume, it explains why someone should read your resume. In an informational interview, use it to explain why you are interested in learning about that person’s career path. The possibilities are endless.

A pitch is also dynamic and should be tailored towards your audience. For example, if you are applying for a job, use information from the job listing to target your pitch on your resume towards how you would fit into the position and help improve the company. (As an aside, if you do not feel like your resume fits the description of a specific job but you want to work for the company, e-mail the recruiter that you are unsure if that specific description is right for you but that you’re interested in working for the company.) You need to know what you want to do so people can help you and you can make specific requests.

How do you prepare your pitch?

Your pitch should be broken into three parts. Use the FAB method:

FAB Method

  1. FEATURE
    Features are WHAT you are good at or skills you have gained. They are factual and objective. This is a great time to utilize the BGE CSPD Transferrable Skills worksheet to define your skills.
     
  2. ACCOMPLISHMENT
    Accomplishment is a measure of HOW WELL you have performed your skills or features. It is most beneficial to describe your accomplishments in a quantitative manor. Break down 6 years of PhD work (the science) into the various aspects of your experience – publishing, presenting, project design. Instead of saying “I am good at [a certain task]” provide data to prove that you are.
     
  3. BENEFIT
    Benefit describes HOW YOU ADD VALUE to an organization or future employer. This helps you translate what you can do to improve a company and why you should be the person they hire or why your career trajectory is the correct one.

Before going on an informational interview or updating your LinkedIn page, write out at least 10 FAB statements. Having a bank of FAB statements will help you tailor your message to the appropriate audience. Again, the FAB statements should be fluid and should be retooled after informational interviews and as you learn more buzzwords in the industry in which you want to participate. Once you have your pitch, practice and share with others for feedback!

TAGS: Networking, Events

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