Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Going High Concept

Readers of this blog know that I advise job seekers not to sell themselves, but to buy them.

You will do better in a job interview if you show how much you understand the company that is interviewing you and how much you want to be part of their culture. This tactic is far better than touting your virtues, your successes, and your achievements.

An article from the Harvard Business Review reminded me that even when you are not selling yourself, you should know how to present yourself. And to do it clearly, concisely, in a way that relates to the job you want, in one sentence that you can pronounce in fifteen seconds.

In other contexts this is called high concept.

When Daisy Wademan Dowling presented this idea, she called it the elevator pitch. It assumes that you are trapped in an elevator with a hiring executive for a short period of time and need to find the right, high concept pitch. Link here.

Dowling offers the example of the executive assistant whose elevator pitch was: "I can make any boss shine."

Dowling considered this to be a great pitch. It is. It is far better than saying: I am a great assistant, or I am the most efficient assistant there is.

The concept works because she is not selling herself; she is showing that she understands what the job really entails. And she is basing her pride on the effect her work produces on others.

She is not asking what the job can do for her; she is showing what she can do for her employer.

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