It’s the question every employer wants answered in a perfect pitch that informs, entertains, and doesn’t last too long (around 30 seconds according to Rob Wallace, managing partner of brand identity and package design firm Wallace Church, Inc.)
These employers want to hear your story. They want you to provide a snapshot of your personality and proficiencies in a short, well-written narrative that also explains why they should hire you.
This means your story is an integral part of your personal branding. It’s your verbal identity, and should go through just as many drafts as your logo – a task that might sound tedious to visually driven designers.
But, if the question, “Who are you?” still inspires sweaty palms and an unsure answer, consider taking some time to draft a few versions of your personal story. This exercise in free writing will help you discover your core message, reveal your voice, and eventually perfect the pitch that lands your next design job.
Be sure to include a synthesis of your experiences and expertise like academic studies and accomplishments in your narrative and specific statements and examples that could only apply to you (not your competition).
Once you know what you want to say edit according to these guidelines from Robin Landa’s, Build Your Own Brand, to make your pitch more concise, intriguing, and hopefully, lucrative.
- Write short complete sentences containing a subject, predicate, and verb. (The subject is the one performing the action and the verb is the action.) As Stephen King wrote in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, “Take any noun, put it with any verb, and you have a sentence. It never fails.”
- Use action verbs.
- Write in the active voice, not in the passive voice.
- Average fewer than twenty words per sentence. (Designwise, twelve words is a good line length on a website.)
- Start the sentence with a capital letter and end the sentence with a period.
- Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly. Avoid superlatives. (Rather than saying you’re the “best,” give an example of what makes you the best.)
- Avoid redundancy.
- Cut as many words as possible while retaining meaning.
- Convey a precise meaning with each word.
- Draw in the reader with the first sentence.
- Leave an impression with the last sentence.
- Use everyday language.
- Avoid clichés.