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Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have been adopted to reduce the number of candidates that will be considered for an open job opportunity. This machine will decide your fate if you allow yourself to succumb to its implementation in corporate America. Up to 95 percent or more of job applicants are eliminated from consideration before their resume is seen by a real person.

What happens to the remaining 5 percent of applicants? A Human Resources administrator will tally and compare the scores of the applicants, search for weaknesses such as interruptions in employment history, and eliminate several more before the decision maker gets involved.

Is this a process you really want to participate in? No? Then change the rules! If you don’t, you’re just wasting your time and energy. You can win that first interview with the decision maker and circumvent the ATS. How?

Use a compelling

elevator pitch.”

Use a compelling elevator pitch that addresses the source of the hiring manager’s pain. You must motivate the hiring manager to take ownership of the hiring process.

What is an Elevator Pitch and Why Use It?

An elevator pitch is a short, focused 30-second speech that provides the decision maker with a compelling story to justify spending additional time with you. It’s named an Elevator Pitch in recognition of the time it takes an elevator to reach its destination floor. It’s still commonly employed to capture the attention of senior executives, venture capitalists, and other influential business people.

The decision maker will recognize an elevator pitch immediately. However, the hiring manager was previously delivering an elevator pitch to someone else. Expect your decision maker to be mildly amused and intrigued to now serve as the audience for your elevator pitch.

Also expect that hiring manager to be harsh and abrupt if you fail to deliver what’s expected. A successful delivery is best accomplished by addressing how you can:

  • Reduce the Hiring Manager’s stress
  • Save the Hiring Manager precious time
  • Reduce operating cost
  • Increase revenue
  • Generate profit.

By using an Elevator Pitch, you are demonstrating you understand how business is done. In the eyes of the hiring manager, you’ve elevated yourself into a different social circle by using the elevator pitch. So your elevator pitch must be delivered artfully and effectively.

You are demonstrating

you understand

how business is done.”

You need to be comfortable with public speaking, familiar with body language, and be a good storyteller to deliver your message in about 30 seconds. Yes, it can be done but it requires practice.

Do Your Research:

Begin by researching the company. Determine what the company does and learn who is its competitor(s). If you have a job description from the company, identify the keywords. Otherwise, search for a generic job description on the internet and focus on the keywords it uses.

Research to discover the hiring manager. Follow the company on LinkedIn to see if the job opening is listed. A job opening often mentions the job title of the direct supervisor as in “Reports to….” but that probably isn’t the hiring manager. Search the employees listed in the company profile. If you find a match by job title, review that employee’s profile to see what he/she does. Sometimes a LinkedIn profile will clearly state “Reporting to Director of ….”

If that’s the case, find the name of the Director in the Company profile as this will be the hiring manager. If that person is not accessible via LinkedIn, Google the hiring manager and learn everything you can about that individual. Call the company switchboard and ask the operator for the hiring manager’s extension and then ask to be connected to voice mail. Voice Mail recordings often include a lot of contact information that can be used to your advantage later.

Craft Your Elevator Pitch to Win Your First Interview!

Must you address all five points in the bullet list? No, but the more points you can address, the more likely you are to get the interview and land the job. The point is you’ll be successful in grabbing the attention of the decision maker. Here’s my pitch for promoting my personal brand.

As product manager for a market leader in industrial machinery, my focus is upon Technical Marketing and Product Development through technical leadership, innovation management, and business development. I conduct market research, analyze market potential, lead product development, and spearhead marketing efforts to launch new products that achieve both near-term tactical sales objectives and long-term strategic business development objectives. As such, I’m accountable for meeting annual sales goals and product line margins affecting P&L. My efforts have helped ensure my employer’s profitability for over 15 years.”

Learn the Anatomy of a Personal Branding Statement:

This is referred to as a Personal Branding Statement. Let’s dissect my personal branding statement. First, it’s comprised of four sentences totaling 85 words long. Can you read it and comprehend it within 30 seconds? I bet you can. Does it have everything needed to get me an interview? No way!

There are two critical things missing; my introduction with my name, and my concluding sentence that must motivate our decision maker to action and “close the deal.” If you don’t “close the deal,” you’ll conclude your pitch without any tangible result. You must state what you want from the decision maker and motivate the decision maker with a call to action.

Let’s do a little more dissection by listing the keywords and keyword phrases:

First Sentence: Market leader, industrial machinery, technical marketing, product development, innovation management, business development.

Second Sentence: Launch new products, tactical sales, strategic business development.

Third Sentence: Accountable, sales goals, margins, profit & loss (P&L).

Fourth Sentence: Profitability, 15 years.

I’ve packed 15 keyword phrases into four sentences that should take no more than 30 seconds to speak or read, and wrapped the message up with profitable for over 15 years. Now, review the five bullet points identified earlier. My personal branding statement satisfies four of them. The one that isn’t satisfied is “Reduce operating cost,” but that’s inferred in the words, “accountable, margins, and P&L.”

So far, we only have a personal branding statement. It’s not an elevator pitch unless it has a call to action. Let’s make the personal branding statement into an elevator pitch by adding an introduction and conclusion with a call to action.

It’s not an elevator pitch

unless….

it has a call to action.”

Hello, I’m Michael Schonfeld. As product manager for a market leader in industrial machinery, my focus is upon Technical Marketing and Product Development through technical leadership, innovation management, and business development. I conduct market research, analyze market potential, lead product development, and spearhead marketing efforts to launch new products that achieve both near-term tactical sales objectives and long-term strategic business development objectives. As such, I’m accountable for meeting annual sales goals and product line margins affecting P&L. My efforts have helped ensure my employer’s profitability for over 15 years. I want to learn more about your specific requirements to fill your open position for Director of Business Development. Can we meet next week to discuss this opportunity?”

Notice the strategic use of your to recognize the hiring manager as the owner of the position and his/her responsibility as the decision maker. Simultaneously, you have conveyed your respect and recognized his/her responsibility with a call to action. You have motivated the decision maker to commit to this opportunity with an interview or some other action.

In the next post, you’ll learn how and where to use your elevator pitch. Until then, write your elevator pitch so we can prepare to plant the seeds that will land you that first interview.

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