by Kristina Kwan, Career Center Intern
If you’re like most job seekers, the prospect of selling themselves to a recruiter face-to-face can produce general anxiety to temporary amnesia. Relax. Unless you’re claiming to be the next Steve Jobs, most of us will do well by remembering that your job fair pitch is just the beginning of a conversation, not a laundry list of qualifications.
It’s simply a concise statement that conveys who you are, your strengths or passions and how they match with the organization.
Let’s start by breaking down the elements of a pitch:
- Introduce yourself: provide your name, major, and any concentration.
- Express your interest in the company/organization: what is it about the organization that is so appealing?
- Communicate why they should be interested in you: most importantly, what do YOU bring to the table? What are your skills and strengths?
- Ask an opening question: provide a question that offers more information while stimulating relevant conversation.
“Hi, I’m Judy Smith and I’m interested in an entry level Human Resources position. I will be completing my BS/Business Administration with an emphasis in HR in May. I read in the job fair publication that Global Inc has an HR position available and I’m very interested in learning more about it. I recently completed an internship at XYZ Corp and really enjoyed the experience. I helped organize signups for a new benefits package, coordinated a company picnic for 400 employees and their families, and gave tours of the office to new employees. Can you tell me a little bit more about the qualities you are seeking in an ideal HR candidate?”
Your commercial should seem natural and conversational. Would a complete stranger “get it”? Try practicing with friends, family, pets, and even in front of a mirror. Observe your expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Do you like what you see and hear? Are you coming across as personable and confident?
Put It In Context:
Remember your pitch shouldn’t be a rushed, memorized speech that you need to get through. Watch for non-verbal cues from the listener. If it seems like he or she wants to interject or ask for details, pause and give them the opportunity to do so.
Depending on the direction of your conversation you may ask them the best way to follow up or how to stay in touch for future openings. If they haven’t requested your resume, ask if they would like one. Always thank the recruiter for their time. If you enjoyed talking with them, let them know. Flash your pearly whites. Give a firm handshake. Exit.
If you need additional assistance and tips for the Expo, remember to check out our Job Fair Success Webshop!
Kristina has been a career counseling intern at the SJSU Career Center since the Fall of 2012. She is in the process of earning her M.A. in Counselor Education from SJSU and has previous employment-services experience as a youth advisor with NOVA as well as an ESL employment mentor with the International Rescue Committee.