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How to get in the door

Whether you’re pitching yourself to an admissions officer or for a new job, the most important thing is to be able to communicate what is special about you. This is called your value proposition today. If you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it.
Companies and schools alike are looking for a compelling reason to hire you or take you as a student in their program.
This is sometimes called your elevator speech, two- minute pitch, or even 15-second pitch. When I work with my clients, it is a challenge to help them develop a pitch that shows their uniqueness. Keep it short and simple.
Laura Allen, co-founder of 15SecondPitch.com, a New York-based company that helps individuals and companies develop better sales pitches says,” "Remember the Three C's when designing your sales pitch; your pitch should always be: COMPELLING, CREATIVE, AND most importantly CONCISE." She says, "If you don't grab your prospect's attention in the first 15 seconds of any conversation, you've lost the sale for good." It is critical to let people know exactly why your product or service is the best and how they can do business with you. Most people are extremely busy, so spend some time really crafting an excellent sales pitch that you know like the back of your hand. Ms Allen adds, "I tell my clients that it is critical that they memorize their pitch and have it down cold. You never know when you might meet the perfect prospect in an elevator and you'll only have a few seconds of face time, not minutes, to deliver your pitch." She also stresses that follow-up is key. " You might not close the deal in 15 seconds flat, but you can certainly give them enough juicy details so that they'll remember you and take your call when you go to follow up."
Janine A. Schindler, CEG owner of JAS Coaching & Training (www.JasCoaching.com) a New York- based firm with a global client base, has these tips:
1. "Know yourself. Personal branding is not about building a special image for the outside world; it is about understanding what is truly unique about you - your strengths, skills, values and passions - and using that to differentiate yourself and guide your career decisions. What are your brand attributes?
2. Know your competitors. How can you stand out unless you know those among whom you're standing? In other words, who are you really competing against? Your current colleagues? A larger group at your current workplace? Others within your industry? Take another look at your goals, and take a closer look at your competition. If you see yourself making major career changes, your competitors are not likely to be your current colleagues. If you are planning a straight-ahead trajectory to a more senior position, it may be easier to identify the competition and their brand attributes.
3. Know your target. To be successful, it's not enough to have a personal brand. You need to communicate it to the right people. It would exhaust your resources to aim for the world at large. Just like Mattel knows that their target audience is glued to the television on Saturday morning, you too must understand how and where you can reach your audience."
Using social media like LinkedIn are great resources for reaching targets.