We’ve all heard of an “elevator pitch”: a 30- to 60-second sales presentation timed to fit a hypothetical elevator ride with a person you want to influence.
Update: Either elevators have gotten faster or attention spans have grown shorter. Whatever the cause, you should count on even less time than that for your resume or verbal pitch to make that essential first impression on a prospective hiring manager.
In general, job seekers can count on HR pros to spend about 15 seconds per resume on the first round of reviews. According to TheLadders columnist Donald Burns, that means your resume needs to pass the “barstool test”: It must be written in a smooth, conversational style that you’d be comfortable speaking to someone on a neighboring barstool. No stuttering, no backtracking.
As resume writer Richard Hoffman told TheLadders reporter Don Sears, HR professionals “want infomercials, not Tolstoy.”Career coach Laura Allen has parlayed the concept of the 15-second pitch into its own company. 15SecondPitch.com helps job seekers and entrepreneurs get down to brass tacks in describing themselves and their products smoothly within — wait for it! — 15 seconds. Try the site’s free “Pitch Wizard” to create your own personal pitch that beats the clock.