You will hear it called many things – value proposition, elevator pitch, personal commercial, etc. Regardless of the label attached, it is a critical component of your personal brand. Your value proposition is how you introduce yourself in a networking or profession situation or who you answer “Tell me about yourself.” In an interview or networking event.
Your value proposition must be concise and to the point – ideally about 30 seconds and not more than 45 seconds. It is not a life history, a chronological summary or a detailed job description. It is about who you are and what makes you unique. You want to share enough information to peak someone’s curiosity enough to engage in further conversation.
You should never memorize your value proposition. It will come off canned and you could easily stumble on a word that throws you off completely. Instead be comfortable enough with it that you can deliver it naturally and confidently. The more comfortable you are with it, the easier it is for you to adapt it on the fly depending on the circumstances. You will likely want to emphasize different aspects of your introduction in different audiences.
The best way to prepare it to practice. If you keep stumbling over a phrase, find a different way to say it. It may look great on paper but it needs to sound natural when you deliver it. Do some practice on your own – in the car, in the shower, whatever works. Then practice with family or friends and request feedback. Once you are ready attend some networking events to put it to the true test. Does it make people want to engage in further conversation?
Never apologize for what you don’t have in your value proposition. Focus on your transferable skills not on the experience you lack. Even if you are right out of school, you have skills and experiences that are part of your brand. Focus on what makes you unique to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Introduce yourself with confidence. It is an important first step in engaging in further conversation.
As you prepare your value proposition remember that you are selling yourself. What the three most important things you want someone to remember about you? Ensure that your value proposition clearly makes those three points. You are the expert on yourself, make sure you are putting your best foot forward with a professional, confident introduction.
Accompany your value proposition with a firm, confident handshake and you will make a positive first impression. The first step in a successful job search is that positive first impression.