Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I need an elevator pitch

I've heard this phrase, the elevator pitch, thrown around and I always thought it only applied to entrepreneurs. You know, explain why you are worth investing in in 20 seconds or less. It the rough and tumble world of job hunting though, I'm wishing I'd worked one up sooner. In the last week, I've started following a lot more people on Twitter, most of whom are recruiters. Several tweeted back an introduction and asked who I am. That's right- who are you and why should we have even a superficial professional relationship online, in 140 characters. Someone even threw up the challenge to tweet your CV (#CV2020).

While not everyone buys into the brevity of Twitter, you always need to introduce yourself when you are networking. What you say to start that conversation shouldn't be a soliloquy, but a brief and enticing launch into a more meaningful conversation. Something that combines both what you have accomplished and where you want to take your career. And I need to work on mine big time. It used to be easy, "I work in the X lab, and I'm on the Y Project, we collaborate with Dr. Z's lab a bit." When I hear that, I'm immediately thinking who do I know in that lab, have I heard any seminars from X or Z, do I know much about Y? There are lots of directions for that conversation to go. Now that I've lost that major identifier, I need to find a new way to describe and define myself that conveys a few interesting details and doesn't make me seem desperate or helpless.

I'm sort of waffling between a couple different career routes at the moment, all of which would really benefit from some networking savvy, like being able to prompt the people I meet to give me relevant help and advice.

So here are three, not quite tweetable versions that I am working on:

I am a molecular virologist and I just completed worked characterizing antivirals from two high through-put drug screens. I am interested in transitioning into a position in drug or product development, especially in a regulated environment.

I'm a recent Ph.D. interested in the way that the public interacts with science. My interest prompted me to design and teach a course for undergraduates on science and ethics, and now I am looking to get involved in policy or outreach.

I'm a newly minted biologist who values the importance of good communication. I am doing some contract work in editing, and looking for new opportunities in educational publishing.

What do you think, too long? Not specific? I'm conflicted because I know that all of these sound relaly different, but they all stem from the same core interests. Probably less confusing for anyone I might talk to if I keep it separate though. Heard any good ones lately?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I am in exactly your position, recent(ish) PhD sci grad (though not from US), rather desperately looking for a job. Going through almost everything you write about. I could comment on almost every post you have, but I've already written one thesis, so I'll just stick to this quick one.
    All your 30 sec pitches are good, you just have to know your audience and tailor your pitch to them. Best advice I read: what are the top 3 thing you want this person to know about you and also state what exactly you want (job/career wise), otherwise the person might think "...so?". If it's not in a job interview situation, maybe follow it up with a leading question ("do you know anyone/any opportunities, etc?"). And practice so you can say it confidently, otherwise the pitch will become a ditch (why no, I haven't though of a career in comedy...). Good luck.