Climbing the leadership ranks and ready for your next role? The first step towards making it happen is to develop your messaging. When asked, are you able to clearly articulate how you help organizations succeed? Most people can’t. But you do need to have a concise introduction ready because you never know when an opportunity may present itself.
It all starts with your personal brand. Many people come to me confused about personal or professional branding. Simply put, it’s your reputation and what you’re known for — or would like to be known for. It’s also called your unique selling proposition (USP) or unique value proposition (UVP). It’s the value you offer an organization and how you stand out from your peers.
How would you describe what you bring to the table that other people don’t? Have you developed specific expertise or specialized in a certain area? Do you have a unique background or perspective that differentiates you from your competitors? Your personal brand is the foundation for how you’ll market yourself to potential employers. It’s your superpower.
Compelling Conversation Opener
Ditch the boring elevator pitch! A Compelling Conversation Opener (CCO) is the new, more effective networking introduction that invites two-way interaction. In the traditional elevator speech, one person spouts out as much information about themselves as they can in 60-90 seconds. As you have no doubt experienced, people tend to tune out these one-sided sales pitches. Here’s a better way to share information about yourself and initiate conversation.
Because most networking today is conducted virtually via video conferencing, being ready with a succinct introduction will help you make professional connections. Your CCO is your digital handshake and the crux of your personal brand. Because people hire people they know, like and trust, the best way to get to know someone is to speak with them, not at them. What would you like people to know about your career accomplishments? What might make you memorable? Present yourself positively in terms of how you help organizations succeed now and in the future – not what you used to do.
Here’s an exercise to help you create your Compelling Conversation Opener
Who I am: _____________________________________________________
Who I help: ____________________________________________________
The results I deliver: _____________________________________________
How I do it: ____________________________________________________
Step #1: Who I am
- Desired next job title, designation or area of expertise
- Write this in the present tense to help position yourself for your next role. Don’t focus on what you did in the past.
Example: I’m a senior materials engineer.
Step #2: Who I help
- If you help people, who are they — consumers, first-time home buyers, students, retirees, parents?
- If you help organizations, describe them by industry, size, their core business, etc.
Example: I help ceramic bearing ball manufacturers who serve the global aerospace industry.
Step #3: The results I deliver
- Something specific your employer/client needs or wants
- Do you help people achieve financial freedom, make healthy lifestyle choices, or help organizations gain market share, lower operational costs, launch new products?
Example: I enable the organization to gain market share by delivering higher quality products than their competitors.
Step #4: How I do it
- What differentiates you from the competition?
- What do you do better than your peers?
Example: I specialize in developing precision ceramic materials that can withstand higher temperatures and maintain structural integrity longer.
Step #5: Weave it into a cohesive introduction
- Add more details and make it interesting
- Goal: no more than 30 seconds long, <100 words
- Try to focus on the value you deliver an organization
- Leave them wanting more information so they’ll want to continue the conversation
Sample Introductions for Different Situations
Sample in-person or online networking introduction:
“Hi, I’m Jordan Jobseeker, a senior materials engineer who helps ceramic ball manufacturers gain market share by delivering higher quality products than their competitors. I specialize in developing precision ceramic materials for aerospace applications that can withstand higher temperatures and maintain their structural integrity longer. I contribute to organizational profitability by focusing on continually improving product quality and durability. If you have any questions about me or the high-tech ceramic products I help develop, just let me know. Thank you.”
Sample post-introduction response to “So, tell me about yourself” or “What do you do?”:
“Specializing in materials engineering, I help ceramic ball manufacturers gain market share by delivering higher quality products than their competitors. I develop precision ceramic materials for aerospace applications that can withstand higher temperatures and maintain their structural integrity longer. I contribute to organizational profitability by focusing on continually improving product quality and durability.”
After you compose your CCO, practice saying it aloud until it easily rolls off your tongue in a conversational manner. This way you’ll be prepared to introduce yourself when an opportunity arises. You may find it helpful to record your CCO using your phone’s voice memo feature. Don’t be surprised if you need to revise and rerecord it a few times until you like the way it sounds. The next step is to compose a few follow-up speaking points to answer any questions or continue the conversation.
Now that you have determined how you’d like to be portrayed and can share what you offer an organization, rebranding your resume will be easier. Consider your resume and LinkedIn profile extensions of your CCO. All 3 pieces work together to solidify your professional brand, so make sure you convey a consistent message with everything you do.
A published and certified career transition coach, Trish (Thomas) McGrath has been helping people build rewarding careers since 2009. As a trusted advisor, job search expert, resume and LinkedIn writer, she guides her clients to career success. Contact Trish at (860) 658-6480 or firstname.lastname@example.org to see how she can help you gain the competitive EDGE you need to succeed©.