Friday, September 21, 2018

How to Differentiate Yourself in a Sea of Competitors

Author:  Lisa P. Kaste  (HR Business Partner)

“I saw you didn’t do an elevator pitch today.” said John Trach, a fellow job seeker, to me at our PSG meeting.  It’s true; I had snuck out to the bathroom because I just couldn’t deal with the elevator pitch that Friday.  I was feeling stuck in my job search with no hot prospects and not knowing what to do next to generate some new job leads.  What really struck me however was that someone – maybe several someone’s – had taken note of me at the meetings.  I had let myself down by not taking the opportunity to let people know who I am and what I do professionally.  That was the whole point of this networking meeting, right!?

On the ride home I had an epiphany.  I needed to create an Elevator Pitch that was memorable.  The radio was off and my creativity started cooking.  Inspiration came quickly as I considered how I could use a set of playing cards to highlight my HR skills.  By the time I got home I had the whole concept in my head.  I walked in the door and over the next two hours I created my own deck of cards listing the HR skills I want to be known for as an HR professional.

I rehearsed my pitch over and over until I could deliver it smoothly and without a hitch.  I used The Breakfast Club meeting and another networking group to practice the pitch and get feedback.  The feedback was resoundingly positive with many suggestions to tape it and post it on LinkedIn.  A networking friend offered to video tape me, and a tech savvy cousin helped me load it onto LinkedIn as a posting.  I had finally found a way to ask my LinkedIn network to help me find job prospects without me actually having to ask them!

The video views started to jump into the hundreds with many Likes and Comments.  Additionally I chose to market it aggressively by reaching out to individual LinkedIn contacts asking them to watch my first video posting and asking them to share/repost it, or “Like” it or make a “Comment”.  As of today I have over 11,000 views of the video and I have also loaded the video into the Media Section of my profile so that anyone who views my profile can easily watch it.  As I add recruiters and other people to my network – I highlight the video to them.  It’s my new calling card.

Was the effort worth it?  You bet!  I clearly made an impression on many people who complimented me for my creativity and nerve.  I heard from former colleagues and other HR professionals who shared job leads which resulted in some interviews.  My goal was to differentiate myself in a sea of other HR professionals.  I have a new tool to market myself and I will continue to use it until I come up with my next creative idea.  Stay tuned!