Thursday, February 19, 2009

More on Job Interviews and Asperger’s: The Elevator Pitch

Many individuals with Asperger’s and autism have told me how tough a job interview can be. I think that can be true for those without autism as well. But, the good news is that interview skills can be learned and improved. Interviewing is one of the most common areas I work on with my Coach for Asperger’s and Conversation Coaching clients. I always impressed with the dramatic progress my clients make, and they usually improve in a very short time.
Yesterday, my local news station was broadcasting a job fair on their morning show, not something I’d usually watch, but I was held captive while waiting for my car’s oil change. The newscaster interviewed a professional (who’s name I didn’t catch) from Robert Half International about job interview tips. You can find their list here, but the idea I thought was most helpful was preparing an “elevator speech.”
An elevator speech or elevator pitch is a brief answer, about the length of a standard elevator ride, to the question, “What do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself.” Expect to hear this question in an interview. It’s probably going to be the first question. This is not the time to make small talk or discuss your hobbies. Instead, you’ve got a few minutes to define what makes you special, and tell the interviewer why you should be hired. Plan your elevator speech in advance. Think about the unique strengths you bring to the position. Practice it. In front of the mirror, to your friends or your dog, tell it to your mom. You can even send a comment to this blog with your elevator speech. The more thought you give this, the better you’ll know your own strengths, and the more clearly you can present them.
You don’t want to do this word for word, of course you’ll have to adapt to the situation. For example, maybe you need to introduce yourself, or maybe they already know your name. But your themes should be prepared in advance. The best part about an elevator pitch? Think how much calmer you’ll be in your interview if you can answer the first question so skillfully.
My elevator pitch:
I’m Patricia Robinson, a licensed therapist and coach. I focus on individuals with Asperger’s, autism and ADHD. As a therapist, I work with kids, teens and adults to help them do better at work or school, succeed socially, and to manage tough emotions like sadness or anxiety. As a coach, I work with teens and adults on goal oriented issues, things like jobs and employment, interviewing, and improving social connections and relationships.
What's your elevator pitch?