You may encounter several situations in your career where you need to quickly sell yourself as the best candidate for a job or responsibility. In order to succinctly represent yourself, it's useful to carefully review your best qualities, work history and skills. Learning how to briefly explain why you're the best candidate for the job can help you get and hold your audience's attention. In this article, we provide some tips that will help you sell yourself in 25 words or less to potential employers.
Why it's important to sell yourself to employers
It's useful to know how to sell yourself effectively to catch the attention of hiring managers and stand out from the competition. Similar to a company's services or products, you should promote and sell your skills to hiring managers. A short pitch can help you engage the employer and make a strong impression that they'll likely remember throughout the hiring process.
What to include in your short pitch
Since you're working with as few words as possible, you want each one you choose to be highly memorable. An effective personal sales pitch of under 25 words should contain the following:
- Problem: Show the hiring manager that you understand the needs of the company by stating a problem.
- Solution: Tell the hiring manager why hiring you solves their staffing or other organisational problems.
- Unique selling proposition, or USP: Briefly explain why you're the best choice for the role.
- Hook: End with a memorable value proposition or another hook that will interest the hiring manager in learning more about you.
How to sell yourself in 25 words or less
When selling yourself to employers, your primary goal is to prove that you're the best fit for the job and the company. Since most hiring professionals are busy people, it's ideal to do so in as few words as possible. Here are a few steps to sell yourself to employers in the briefest terms possible:
1. Consider the problem
Begin by identifying the problem your presence at the company will solve. Be as specific as possible, and ensure the problem relates directly to a skill, qualification or accomplishment you have and can share with the hiring manager should they want to know more.
2. Find the solution
In most cases, the solution to the company's problem will be hiring you. However, you should detail how exactly your presence on staff will solve the problem—know what skills you have or what accomplishments you've achieved in past roles that truly make you the best fit for the specific role you want and for the company overall.
3. Ensure you highlight your USP
Delivering an effective personal sales pitch is mainly about identifying what you can offer as efficiently as possible to hiring managers. Determine what value you can add to the company that's significantly different from your competitors. Here's how to identify your unique selling points:
- Determine your personal skills and qualities: Personal qualities refer to your natural traits and characteristics, such as intelligence, dependability and honesty. Personal skills are learned behaviours, and you usually acquire them through your professional life or your learning experiences in school. Personal skills are typically divided into two categories: hard and soft skills. Hard skills (e.g., computer technology, accounting and marketing) are typically taught and can be measured, while soft skills (e.g., analytical, communication and leadership) often come from your traits.
- Think about your unique collection of skills and qualities: Write down your full inventory of unique skills and qualities. The list can be as long as you want, but make sure you reduce it to a more manageable number later. If you're not sure what skills and qualities would best represent you, you can check with your colleagues or friends and ask each of them to define your top three professional qualities.
- Choose what's relevant: Your USP should be relevant to the position you're applying for. Draw on your skills and qualities until you find at least five that pertain to the job you want. Review the job description thoroughly to determine the required skills and qualities. If the required skills and qualities of the position you're applying for match those from your own inventory, highlight them.
- Look back: Once you have identified your relevant USPs, examine your career to determine which of the skills and qualities on your list came from real circumstances or actual events. To find the context for the relevant skills and qualities on your list, review the circumstances, events, positions you've held and achievements that may resonate with the hiring manager. Be truthful about your USP. It should be based on reality and help you define yourself.
The USP component of your short pitch is often the most important sales element. Ensure you take the necessary time to delve into your personal USPs and identify the one that best matches the needs of the company.
4. Craft your hook
One of the most important elements of your short personal pitch is the hook. This attention-grabbing sentence should ideally provide the hiring manager with a specific value proposition they'll only get if they hire you. Use direct and persuasive language when considering your hook.
5. Establish your personal brand
Just like businesses need to build a brand to get customer recognition and trust, the same is true when you're interviewing for a job. Here are some tips to help you establish your personal brand:
- Develop a branding statement: Create a one- or two-sentence summary of your career strengths and goals. For instance, you could say, "I am a detail-oriented project manager seeking to join an IT company on the partnership track." You could also say, "I am an experienced writer seeking to transition into a full-time editing role." You can use your branding statement on your CV, cover letter and professional social media profiles and when networking with other professionals. Keep this statement under 25 words for maximum impact.
- Keep your marketing materials consistent: Think of your CV, business cards and cover letter as a suite of marketing materials intended to sell your skills, experience and expertise. That means it's beneficial if they look consistent—use the same style, header and font on all documents. These documents are like advertisements on print media and online, so make sure they look clean and are easy to read.
Pairing your branding statement with cohesive application documents can help hiring managers remember you after you deliver your short sales pitch.
6. Put it together
Use your prepared responses to the elements of the pitch—the problem, solution, USP and hook—and your brand statement to create a personal sales pitch that's 25 words or less. Review your brand statement and pull any standout skills, accomplishments or additional information from it to add to your other elements. Shape your separate thoughts and pieces into a coherent and concise statement designed to explain why you're the best person for the job and what value you'll bring to the organisation. Keep this statement under 25 words and ensure it sounds good when delivered verbally.
Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
7. Practise your delivery
Since you're delivering your personal pitch in as few words as possible, it's best to practice your delivery before you actually do it for a hiring manager. Ask a professional colleague, friend or family member to act as the hiring manager and practise stating your pitch to them a few times. Seek feedback on the content of your pitch and how you sounded when you shared it to improve your delivery.
8. Create your final package
Write your verbal pitch on a notecard before meeting with the hiring manager. Bring along your suite of application documents, including your CV with your personal brand statement included at the top. Present these documents to the hiring manager after delivering your pitch so they have a physical reference that relates directly to your verbal presentation.
Tips for selling yourself in 25 words or less
Use these tips to help you prepare for and deliver your brief personal sales pitch:
- Keep it simple: While you're sharing a number of elements in your short pitch, keep the language as simple and easy to understand as possible. This way, the hiring manager will remember the content of your short speech rather than the word choices you used.
- Prepare for more: Ideally, after presenting your sales pitch, the hiring manager will want to know more. Prepare in advance for a full-fledged interview.
- Cut the fluff: Remove any unnecessary phrases or words from your pitch. Be as succinct and direct as possible.
- Focus on the benefit: Ensure the benefit you can provide the company is the focus of your pitch.