Alright, you’ve finally committed to attending a few networking events. Now what? How comfortable are you with starting conversations with the new professional acquaintances you’ll meet? Do you know how to effectively portray yourself with confidence?
A key to effective networking is to have a polished positioning statement. A positioning statement is a summary of your interests, expertise, and goals. It is a crafted, yet flexible, story that gives the listener an idea of your background and your aspirations. Generally, a positioning statement is 30 seconds to one minute in length, and includes relevant information about your past experiences, current position, and future goals.
Creating Your Positioning Statement
Step 1: Your Background
It may be natural to start with your undergraduate course of study or degree if you have less work experience. Include any significant undergraduate experiences such as internships. You’ll then want to outline your job history. Include specific skills, experiences, and accomplishments. As you move through your professional positions, you’ll want to explain the motivation, decision, or reason for each career move.
Step 2: Your MBA Program
Insert your graduate program at the appropriate time in your career progression. Include the reasons why you decided to pursue it and your area of study. Note ways you are able to apply your coursework on the job. Describe your most compelling projects and experiences.
Step 3: Your Goals & Objectives
Always conclude with your goals or objectives, and customize them to the position and organization.
- “I am interested in moving to the next level in the healthcare industry…”
- “I am a good fit for this position with [company] because…”
- This position in [area] would be a good fit and would build on my experience in…”
- “I am interested in making a move to marketing…”
Positioning Statement Tips
- It is an overview and should be brief and engaging.
- Talk about decisions you made along the way – your career progress should appear deliberate and planned – and include the “why’s.” An employer is interested in assessing your strategic decision-making through your career moves.
- Include your MBA program and the rationale for pursuing the degree and concentration.
- Always start at an earlier point in your career and end at the present. Include your rationale as to why the industry, function, or position you’re targeting is the right next step.
- Highlight specific and measurable results, accomplishments, and contributions.
Most importantly, remember that while you likely will have an outline or script that you develop on your own, networking is all about engaging in conversation. Do not simply rattle off your positioning statement. Rather, use it as a guide as you meet new connections to effectively portray who you are and what professional goals you have.
Have you developed a positioning statement in the past? What additional tips do you have?