By Audrey J. Beach â—Ź Registered Corporate Coach
The way you introduce and present yourself to others during your career search process is critical. Just as you have put careful thought into preparing your resume and your references, it is just as important to put thought and preparation into your verbal career â€śtools.â€ť
Consider thinking through what youâ€™re going to say and why youâ€™re going to say it in advance of conversations. The reasoning is that you could either be asked questions or want to offer your listener relevant information and therefore this type of advanced preparation is important.
Writing down and then practicing what youâ€™re going to say is crucial. Some people donâ€™t think they need to write anything down but then find they talk too much or forget to include important information.
And be sure toâ€”practiceâ€”practiceâ€”practice! If possible, practice with your career coach or a friend or family member. Most likely you will be your best teacher. And remember, when speaking itâ€™s important to remain genuine and at ease and not come across in a scripted fashion.
Most of us tend to speak to others the way in which we like to be spoken toâ€”otherwiseâ€”we consider only our communication style when conversing. Anotherâ€™s preferred communication style may be very different from our own. What do I mean when referring to communication style? For example, some people want a lot of detail while some prefer a minimum amount of information. If you provide too much information with a â€śget-to-the-pointâ€ť communication style, you may lose the interest of your listener. Itâ€™s usually not difficult to pick up on anotherâ€™s communication style. So when possible, make some minor adjustments in your style to ensure an effective exchange.
When offering information about yourself or answering questions, try not to exceed 90 seconds in your response. Typically, once you exceed this amount of time, no matter how interesting you believe you or your topic is, more than likely your listener will wander.
Generally, be prepared to address the following:
- Tell me about yourself
- Give me a brief overview of your career history
- Why have you left your current position and company?
- What position are you looking to obtain and why?
- Describe your strengths
- What type of organization is a good fit for you?
Every interface, whether itâ€™s an informal or formal networking opportunity, a casual conversation with someone you believe isnâ€™t a key network person, e.g. dentist, or a structured interview can be a time to convey key information about yourself.
Of course youâ€™ll want to remember effective networking techniques. Remember to focus on your listeners, make sure you ask good questions, and listen intently to what they are saying. Your goal should be to learn about them during your conversations. As you learn about your contacts they typically ask you questions about yourself. By learning about the people with whom you are networking, youâ€™ll also be assessing if and how they can be an effective network connection for you.
Attempt to capture your listenerâ€™s interest. Ask yourself: Are you communicating the skills, capabilities and experience you want your listener to learn about? What are your strengths? What is it you want to do? Are you coming across as being comfortable and confident? What questions could you ask? With practice youâ€™ll be able to provide the â€śrightâ€ť information.
Throughout your job search you will talk about yourself with a diverse range of people in various positions. Putting time and effort in your â€śverbal career â€śtoolsâ€ť is definitely time well spent.
Audrey J. Beach is designated as a Registered Corporate Coach with the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC). She brings to executive coaching more than 25 years of business experience in management, coaching, facilitation and training. Her corporate career spans the industrial sector, research and development, business services in both public and private organizations, the government and consulting and coaching services. Audrey has coached business leaders in both the United States and Southeast Asia. She is the owner of Succeed With Coaching. You can contact her at Audrey@succeedwithcoaching.com or 937-602-2855 (USA).