Wherever you are in your academic career, you will find yourself in a position where you need to pitch to someone. It could be an individual or even an entire team of people. But cracking the digital industry can be tough, so whoever you’re pitching to, you need to up your game. To help you, I’ve highlighted six key aspects that you need to consider when you’re preparing your pitch.
Know your terms
The digital industry is changing all the time. As new technologies arise every day, today’s hot topic becomes old news in a short amount of time. As such, you need to be able to demonstrate your knowledge of the industry’s latest trends and the lingo that goes with it.
Concepts such as big data and augmented reality are burgeoning areas in the digital industry, and your audience might bring them or other concepts up during your pitch. If they do, you need to be able to speak about them confidently and fluently. To that end, be sure to familiarise yourself with the trends and buzzwords of the industry beforehand.
Apply for internships or go freelance
There is no doubt you will have heard that the most valuable thing potential employers are looking for these days is experience. Thing is, even unpaid internships can seem like gold dust, and they too are very competitive. An easier route instead is to freelance where you can. Create a good personal website and go to industry networking events or even blind pitch to companies that might need your services. While you might need to work for free initially to build up your experience, it’s a necessity that can pay off in the long run.
If you are lucky enough to land an internship, it can be a great opportunity to work on your non-academic skills such as teamwork and time management. It also gives you the chance to speak to people working in the industry and glean some valuable first-hand knowledge too.
Be a self-starter
You don’t need me to tell you that the digital industry is highly competitive, and as such you’re going to need to stand out. It’s a fast-paced industry, and companies want only dedicated and motivated individuals on their team. As such, you need to be able to demonstrate to them that you are a driven candidate, a real self-starter.
To achieve this, you need to let them know what solo projects you’ve worked on during your time studying. Maybe you run your own affiliate marketing blog, or you’ve developed an app that’s gained a modicum of popularity. No matter how small it might seem to you, to a potential employer it shows that you are genuinely interested in your field and want to succeed.
Show passion through training
Potential employers or startup investors might be impressed by your academic career, but what will really hook them is a passion for what you do. While it certainly pays to let this shine through in your pitch, a great way to show this in a tangible way is to seek further training.
There is a range of industry-certified programmes available to you, often taught at colleges as full or part-time courses. While these may be costly and you may need to work during your studying, there are also affordable options available to you which are relatively inexpensive compared with university.
Contact your local college or education authority for details on courses relevant to you.
Another way to show your audience your dedication and drive is by simply attending industry events. Conferences and expos such as BrightonSEO or Ungagged London are a great way to further your industry knowledge. These events bring together the greatest digital minds around for thought leadership that you can benefit from.
On top of that, it’s also a chance to do some good old-fashioned hobnobbing. Make up some slick business cards and talk to as many people as you can. Networking is a valuable skill in any business, but particularly in the digital industry. Sell yourself, of course, but most importantly of all: listen. Seeing what other people are doing and how they’re doing it will inform your pitch and your career vision.
Do it with integrity
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to show that you have integrity. A lot of the people you will pitch to run close, tightly-knit teams that rely on each other to succeed. Consequently, you need to be able to show that you are honest and hard-working and that you will make for a valuable addition to their team. So be genuine, sincere and straight-to-the-point: it is these qualities that will really make or break your pitch.
As I’ve said, the digital industry is a competitive one. When you’re pitching, you need to be able to show that you know your field and you’re aware of the competition. But above all, you need to show that you have value and that you will be an asset to the digital industry.
Kayleigh Toyra: Content Strategist: Half-Finnish, half-British marketer based in the sunny South West of England. I love to write and explore themes like storytelling, customer experience marketing, and entrepreneurship.
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