Don’t be afraid to be unique.
I’m not suggesting to not mention the MBA at all. It’s a key part of his added value because he has the finance and technology combination.
But it’s the combination that’s so interesting.
So, rule # 2 is to frame your qualities so that they build on each other. Absolutely mention the different degrees you’ve completed, industries where you’ve worked, and functional roles that you’ve held. But weave them into a coherent plot line so that each adds a welcome dimension, not just another factoid for me to remember. So you started and sold a tech company and have an MBA from Top School X – interesting combo!
Results still matter.
The wine stood out because it was Paris, the modeling was significant because he had worked at a top level, and the entrepreneurship added value because of his successful exit. (The MBA also fits in nicely because it’s from a top school.)
You can’t just mention every interesting thing you do, like fluency in Pig Latin, if there is no business context. When I listed out black belt, prima ballerina or language fluency as possible unique items, these are all levels of mastery. So, rule # 3 is to pick the qualities that have substantive results to back them up.
You want to intrigue but also amaze.
Your pitch is how you introduce yourself at networking events, informational interviews, on your cover letter, to your friend’s friends. It is how you answer that interview staple, “Tell me about yourself.” It defines your brand and therefore drives your search. The pitch is critical to positioning yourself for the right role at the right level. Be memorable. Build on your strengths. Lead with results.
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Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career coach, writer, speaker, Gen Y expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com), a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500 recruiters. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others. Caroline is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and posts at CNBC Executive Careers and Vault.com.
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