Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sell yourself in the elevator

Because this blog is also for mid-career Aggie journalists coping with the industry's current weirdness, I like to include items geared for those of us who graduated farther back in history. Like me. (These include the "What's Your OQ? Quiz" and a tutorial in building your own website fast and cheap, complete with vanity e-mail address, to display your resume and clips.)

So I'll add these "Questions to ask yourself" to the "Questions they might ask you" (a practice journalism job interview), the "Questions you might want to ask them" and the "Questions they can't ask you."

One piece of advice us mid-careeries get sometimes is to have our "elevator pitch" ready. This is a short sales pitch for your own self that will persuade someone to either hire you or keep you, in no more time than you might spend in an elevator together. You might think of it as, "What the hell would I ever say if the publisher came into the newsroom and stood at my desk," or how to sell yourself if you meet a prospective employer at a professional conference.

This can sound totally awkward, Business Insider observes, and they offer some practical thoughts on making yours better. Among them, it suggests asking yourself these questions (and answering literally out loud, perhaps phoning your own voicemail), then boiling down the answers.
  • Say, why do you like your work?
  • Why have you been doing this for 10, 15, 20 years?
  • What is it that you find interesting about it?
  • No, seriously, don’t talk to me like I’m your boss, what do you really find interesting about it?
  • Why do you want to stay in this field?
  • What do you like about this industry?
  • When you’re in the shower in the morning, what types of challenges at work make you excited to get the heck to the office as soon as possible?
  • When are you having the most fun?