The Three E's

Etiquette, Ethics and Empathy in the Workplace (and in Life)

 

Jeanne Nelson

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Tuesday
Feb182014

Job Search Series - Your Positioning Statement



“Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Dr. SeussHappy Birthday to You!

Now that you have completed your prototype resume that you will customize for each position to which you apply, and have an understanding of the principles of the cover letter (see the previous three guest posts by Lyn Nelson), let’s turn now to your positioning statement. This composition is also referred to as your 30-second elevator pitch because it should be short and concise enough to recite between floors as you are riding up or down in an elevator – because you never know when you will run into someone important and you only have a few seconds to take advantage of the opportunity to make your case. 

Your positioning statement tells your unique story in a few sentences and is one of the basic documents in your job-search toolbox. It will not only serve as an elevator pitch but also can be used to introduce yourself at networking events, meetings, interviews and other occasion and as the basis of your resume profile. Keep in mind that your positioning statement should not be recited word for word, but sound natural and fit the occasion; when using it in written form you should follow whichever format is required. 

Following are fictional examples of positioning statements, resume profiles and cover letters to demonstrate how they all interconnect. 

Executive Assistant

Positioning Statement (AKA 30-Second Elevator Pitch)

I am an executive assistant in the biotech field with extensive experience in international travel and meeting planning, compliance reporting and paper reduction. I’m proficient in Microsoft Office Professional, multiple travel and meeting planning systems and apps, cloud document archiving and management and web design. For the past two years I have headed my company’s employee engagement committee on community partnership and I recently became a certified administrative professional in organizational management (CAPOM). (By the International Association for Administrative Professionals - IAAP). I’ve worked at both law firms and financial institutions, and have volunteered extensively for The United Way.

Resume Profile / Summary Statement

Executive Assistant with extensive experience in international travel and meeting planning, compliance reporting and paper reduction. Proficient in Microsoft Office Professional, multiple travel and meeting planning systems and apps, cloud document archiving and management and web design. Accomplished in committee work and networking. Certified administrative professional in organizational management by the International Association for Administrative Professionals. Long-term volunteer for The United Way.

Cover Letter

Dear Hiring Manager, (include name if you have it)

As an executive assistant with ten years’ experience working for the Chief Compliance Officer at a Fortune 100 company in the Biotechnology Industry, I am very pleased to apply to the position reporting to the Chief Executive Officer of Applied Biological Corpuscles. I believe that my training and experience in the executive suite of a biotech firm and my familiarity with the compliance issues involved in the biotech field has equipped me in an exceptional manner to support ABC’s top official. In particular I see this as an opportunity to bring my distinctive background and skill set to a company I admire not only because it is a respected member in the industry but because I believe that ABC will be the leader in developing the products that will change the world for the better, especially in light of its brilliant work in spinal cord therapy. To be a part of such progress is something for which I want to wake up every morning.

There is, however, also a very personal reason that I wish to contribute to the success of ABC. Through my volunteer activity for The United Way, I have met a number of people who have been the recipients of products developed by ABC that have improved their health and quality of life. That makes me even more motivated to contribute to the continued success of ABC.

While the position prefers a bachelor's degree, I hope that you will find my associate’s degree in communications studies combined with my strategic experience and length of service as outlined in the attached resume a comparable package.  As required by the position, I will be available to travel to industry events four times per year and work the occasional weekend. I look forward to the privilege of meeting with you to discuss the position and answer any of your questions about my qualifications.

Sincerely,

Recent Graduate       

Positioning Statement (AKA 30-Second Elevator Pitch)

I recently graduated from ABC University with a B.A. in International Economics. During my semester abroad I completed an internship at the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) in Madrid, where I worked on a youth unemployment research project. That experience really helped me to crystallize my career goal, which is to contribute to the stabilization of a healthy global economy to help all people achieve a better quality of life. To take the first step toward realizing that vision, I’m currently looking for an entry-level position in international finance or relations in a government, NGO or microfinance organization. 

Resume Profile / Summary Statement

A resume profile / summary statement is not required for a recent graduate or anyone who has not yet established a significant work history.

Cover Letter

Dear Hiring Manager,

As a recent graduate with a B.A. in International Economics, I was extremely interested to see your job posting for an internship in The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs' International Finance and Development at the U.S. Department of  State. My career goal exactly matches the Bureau’s mission:  to promote U.S. economic development through global economic stability. 

During my semester abroad, I completed an internship at the Organization for Economic Development in Madrid. While working on a youth unemployment research project, I learned a great deal about the economic situation in Europe and particularly in Spain. That experience went a long way toward crystallizing my career goals, which include contributing to global economic stablility. Further, last summer I was afforded the opportunity of creating and conducting a workshop in global economics for seniors at a high school in New York City. The school's mission is to help recent Spanish-speaking immigrants to continue to advance in their studies while learning a new language. I also learned something: that I enjoy working with this population, and was able to bring understanding of this subject to the students through my knowledge and fluency in Spanish. Therefore, I am not  only discovering my career path, but also my passion. 

Working for the Bureau as an unpaid intern would permit me to learn the ropes at the world’s most important institution and at the same time allow me to apply my communications and research skills, as required, along with my experience and knowledge in international economics to further the goals of the Bureau. I hope that I will be considered for this internship and be granted the opportunity of an interview. My resume and all required documents are enclosed in this packet.

Sincerely,  

Your Exit Statement

Another important statement is a brief and optimistic exit statement that explains the reason(s) you are leaving or have left your current or last position. Here are two examples:

Layoff

The following  is an example that can be modified to accommodate someone with vast experience or a recent hire who was laid off from his or her first job in keeping with the “last one in, first one out” layoff practice of many companies:

My company recently merged with the XYZ Corporation, and as a result several hundred positions were eliminated; mine was one of them. Therefore, I'm taking advantage of this break to explore opportunities in which I can (apply my extensive experience in [state area of experience]) (re-launch my career in [field / industry / major]). I am very interested in (state type of work, position, company or industry).

Non-Layoff

I am very happy at my current company, but feel that I have reached a point where opportunities for growth and advancement are minimal. It is very important to me that I am able to continue to grow professionally in my job, and I’ve been thinking that now is the time to investigate the possibilities of making a move. (Optional Addition to Statement: The [name of industry, company or position] is very appealing to me and I believe I could make an important contribution.)  

Join me next week for the next entry in my job-search series!

Until next time,

Jeanne

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