How to pitch yourself in 2 minutes or less—and nail your dream job



Which class of jobseeker do you fall into?

  • The historian. Shares each bullet level on her three-page, 25+ 12 months resume, overwhelming hiring managers with particulars. 
  • The opportunist. Emphasizes a lot willingness to do “something and every little thing,” that there’s no determining the correct match for him.
  • The generalist. Downplays her true expertise with generic accomplishments like “constructing nice groups” and “attaining company targets;” leaves no lasting impression.
  • The reactionary. Wants a therapist and lets emotion about his final employer drive the dialog till the interviewer is screaming for the exit.  

Many people inadvertently fall into one (or extra) of those stereotypes when requested to introduce our expertise, expertise and profession targets. And, particularly for  government jobseekers, these traps might kill your probabilities. Recruiters, hiring managers and networking contacts want a transparent image of your distinctive strengths and superb function—and all in only a few quick sentences.

Enter the skilled narrative. 


Your profession story in two minutes or much less

Knowledgeable narrative captures your profession story at its most concise and memorable stage. Ideally, that’s about two minutes in dialog, and fewer than 200 phrases when written. It’s a power-packed paragraph that when finished proper, clearly differentiates you in the job market, identifies your goal function and retains you prime of thoughts. 

The skilled narrative varieties the inspiration of a profitable government job search. That’s as a result of it addresses crucial questions for profession transition.


  • Who’re you as a senior chief?
  • What do you do greatest?
  • The place do you add worth to a corporation?
  • What’s your superb subsequent step?

These questions can appear easy. Nevertheless, taking time for self-reflection, and getting outdoors views from colleagues, profession coaches or your outplacement agency, outcomes in a stronger, extra succinct story. 

Keep away from clichés and forgettable phrases; concentrate on specifics

Right here’s an instance of the transformation:


Unique abstract:I began my profession in model administration about 20 years in the past in California, after getting my MBA from Stanford. I even have a B.A. in enterprise from UCLA. I bounced round for a bit and had actually good alternatives to journey and construct some fantastic groups. Then about six years in the past I moved again to the Midwest. I joined a startup, actually scrappy group, and this time I had much more accountability for product growth. I’m good at making issues work higher, placing methods collectively, and main groups. I’m prepared to take my management to the subsequent stage—perhaps a chief advertising officer function—the place I can have a major affect on the enterprise.”

Revised skilled narrative: “As an brisk, consumer-led model marketer and normal supervisor, I develop methods that unlock market success. Leveraging my expertise in strategic and new product growth, P&L possession, and cross-functional workforce administration, I rapidly assess enterprise situations and apply confirmed greatest practices. I’m acknowledged for creating insightful methods which can be rooted in deep shopper information, flawlessly executed and in a position to garner successful outcomes. In my subsequent function, I’ll leverage my ardour and expertise as a senior member of a advertising workforce driving superior efficiency. I’ll apply my management at each strategic and operational ranges to create new alternatives for development.”

The place the unique model lacked a hook to seize consideration, the successful skilled narrative reveals persona from the beginning. It emphasizes particular accomplishments and demonstrates the candidate’s strengths, as an alternative of centering on overused clichés, rambling profession historical past and forgettable descriptions. 

An ideal skilled narrative additionally takes a forward-looking method, slightly than counting on a listing of previous accomplishments, titles or years of expertise. It focuses on a exact subsequent function that the viewers can image instantly, whereas emphasizing the affect a candidate could make for the brand new group—slightly than what the jobseeker expects from their subsequent employer. 

This readability makes it simple for others to spot alternatives and facilitate networking introductions. It additionally makes use of a recruiter or hiring supervisor’s restricted time correctly.

Skilled narrative versus private model

Private branding will get loads of buzz with jobseekers, and it’s widespread to mistake a private model as “sufficient” to help your job search. Whereas there’s a particular intersection between what you stand for as a person and your profession aspirations, these are two distinct parts. The principle distinction is {that a} private model applies in many conditions and stays fixed throughout your life; knowledgeable narrative speaks to a transparent aim (your subsequent job) and focuses extra narrowly on your work id.

In both case, senior leaders typically waste house calling out expertise and experiences which can be baseline expectations, slightly than true private differentiators. For instance, at a C-suite or vp stage, we count on strong management talents and confirmed team-building. 

A sensible skilled narrative drills into different attributes that actually set a candidate aside. That specificity can appear counterintuitive, particularly for executives with many expertise and experiences, however the extra you attempt to look good at every little thing, the much less you stand out.  

Enlist outdoors assist to assess your strengths objectively

Creating the perfect profession story will be difficult, particularly when working alone. It’s troublesome to step again and assess your personal strengths objectively. Emotion may derail your overview, particularly if you happen to’re not in transition voluntarily. 

These are all good causes to faucet others in your circle, or the outplacement and profession transition consultants at corporations like Navigate Ahead. Ask these assets to assist determine your prime strengths. Jobseekers typically overlook their greatest belongings, just because these traits come so simply. 

When you’ve crafted a successful skilled narrative, use it typically and persistently throughout your resume, bio and LinkedIn profile. It’s additionally appropriate for conversational introductions, cowl letters and “about” statements in emails. This repetition of key themes will reinforce your message and assist fast-track your subsequent profession alternative. 


Anne Pattern is the CEO of Navigate Forward, a boutique consulting agency that helps senior-level executives model and package deal themselves to make significant transitions, each professionally and personally.