One task that is essential for those gunning for all manner of science jobs, ranging from clinical, biotechnology and engineering roles to posts in quality assurance, regulatory affairs and procurement, is selling oneself quickly.

As the saying goes, hiring managers form opinions about candidates very quickly these days - within just seconds - so it is vital to quickly make a brilliant impression at interview. Whether you refer to it as your 'personal pitch', '60 second commercial' or something else entirely, the basic gist is obvious: it needs to succinctly summarise what you do and why someone else should work with you.

The basic rules of the 'lift pitch'

The 'lift pitch' is so-called because it is based on what you would say to your dream employer if you found yourself in a lift with them, and only had the time from the beginning of the lift's journey until the end in which to convince them to take you on.

It therefore needs to be a genuinely concise introduction of no more than 30-60 seconds, in language that is easy to understand so that the listener is hooked immediately. You will need to use strong, powerful words to create a memorable image in the hiring manager's mind of a person who they simply cannot afford not to hire.  

A great lift pitch isn't just a sharp bullet-point list of the great things about your candidacy - it also tells a story, setting out a problem and how you can solve it. It is also necessarily tailored to the vacancy in question, in much the same way that a great CV is.

Putting together a great lift pitch

A great lift pitch tends to open with a compelling 'hook' that piques the interest of the employer or science recruitment agency, followed by a passionate demonstration of what you stand for as a professional and the value that you can bring to the role. You might conclude it with a question that asks something of the interviewer.

Given the 60-word limit, we would recommend a 150-225 word count for your lift pitch. When you come to write it, you should first consider what you actually do, and come up with 10-20 different ways of expressing it in spoken form - the idea being to edit these ideas and eliminate those that come across as too dull, inappropriate or even amusing.

Your aim is to generate as many potential lift pitches as possible, crafting, refining and/or merging as necessary to create a powerful message that advertises you at your best. Don't forget to record yourself in audio and/video form, making your lift pitch, so that you can consider further changes.

Creating lift pitches is a continuous process

Remember that the process of creating the perfect, clear and impactful lift pitch is never-ending, with your pitch necessarily differing between different science jobs. You should also constantly contemplate ways to improve your lift pitch so that you are always making the best possible first impression at each and every interview that you attend for a science role.   

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