Among the goals of every networking encounter is to leave a lasting positive impression. Not only a positive impression can help networkers to be more marketable, but it can also help establish and cultivate ongoing relationships with professionals in the field. For example, when you are remembered positively by someone, they will likely refer you as “contacts” and tell others about you, keep you updated on job leads, and provide you with valuable information about your field of interest.
The question is, how to make yourself memorable?
The key to this is to grab the attention of your interlocutors as early as possible before their attention gets into something else. According to BBC Health, a person’s attention span varies depending on tasks, responsibilities, or time they have. Some might have a longer or shorter attention span. However, if you can tell a person the most important information that she/he MUST know about you in a few seconds (commonly 30-second), you’ll likely be remembered better.
This interaction is known as 30-second pitch or the answer to the question “tell me about yourself”. A 30-second pitch is a brief introduction that tells a contact who you are and offers a few interesting and relevant details about your professional background and interest. It is more useful at public events, such as career expos and mixers, where networking encounters tend to be brief. An extended version of this conversation (your one-minute pitch) can also be used as an introduction in an interview.
Your 30-second pitch should include the following elements:
- An introduction (give your name and current school/job as appropriate to the situation)
- Your relevant professional interests and the relevant aspects of your professional background
- The reason that are you interested in speaking with the contact
- Your interest in having a follow-up conversation (inquire about the best way to get in touch with the contact in the future)
Here are other tips to get your 30-second pitch right and valuable:
- Ask questions – Your pitch should feel like a natural, albeit succinct, conversation. Do not rattle off a list of your professional experience for 30 consecutive seconds. Instead, allow room for the contact to join the discussion. Feel free to ask a few strategic questions and listen carefully to their comments and respond accordingly.
- Be direct – Do not assume that your contact will make the right inferences about you. If you want them to know that you are passionate about healthcare reform, say, ‘‘I am passionate about health care reform.’’
- Practice – While your pitch should never sound rehearsed or robotic, practising in front of a mirror and/or with another person will help you remember important information when you encounter an unexpected networking opportunity.
Connection through networking is one of the best ways for you to get a job of your interest, thus remember to always use 30-second pitch tips.