June 16, 2013
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In any number of my journalism classes I’ve learned how to write press releases, media pitches, package audio and video and just about everything needed to sell an idea. What my classes didn’t quite prepare me for was how to sell myself. During the interview process for my current internship at a waste and recycling company, I was asked to prepare a five-minute presentation about what I could add to their communications team.
My first thought was, “how do I do this without bragging?” However, I quickly realized bragging was exactly what I needed to do. Just like with any other pitch, if you don’t believe in the concept, why should anyone else?
Rather than providing a broad summary of my previous experience, which they could easily see from my resume, I chose to focus on spotlighting individual successes. On the ImPRessions networking trip to New York City earlier this year, we all learned that it is often more important to give people a reason to listen to you instead of just yelling and hoping to be heard.
I did my research on the company, and tailored my presentation to speak to their needs. On the company blog there were a handful of personal pieces about company employees. Working for a client with ImPRessions, spotlight pieces were a regular occurrence for me. I chose to focus on this and included screenshots of some of my most popular posts.
Before ending my presentation, I added an element that was inherently my own. A number of my close friends know that one of my main interests is otters, the furry sea creature. I included a short anecdote about how I created a post on Buzzfeed regarding my love for otters and it managed to get a large response on social media. The topic was a little off key but the reaction was impressive, and it definitely gave them something to remember.
Pitching yourself for a job isn’t so different than pitching a story for a client, when you boil it all down. The same strategies apply and as long as you believe in what you’re selling, it’s likely your audience will follow.
-Darby Fledderjohn is a senior strategic communications major with specializations in business and sociology.