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Nailing the one-page written pitch

Heard of an elevator pitch—30 seconds you have to describe what you do, its value and build intrigue?

Well now a written version—the one-page pitch—is increasingly popular. Many  government departments, like Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C), are asking for written one-pagers as part of their recruitment process. This usually replaces the tradition ‘selection criteria’, which can be much longer.

This expert article explores what this new written pitch is, why it’s important and how to nail writing one.

What’s a one-page pitch?

It’s a written and concise summary shining the spotlight on your suitability for a position. As PM&C explains, it’s your chance to explain:

  • why you want to work for an organisation
  • why you’re interested in a role
  • what you can offer an organisation
  • how your skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications apply to your role.

It’s a snapshot satisfying a prospective employer that you stand out.

Why is the one-page pitch important for a prospective employer?

They’re important because they present, in a nutshell, why you’re the one to hire.

Some employers are time poor and so use these pitches to help them move through volumes of resumes more efficiently. Just as importantly, they can help organisations seek a broad range of candidates. This can round out an organisation, making it agile and effective. It can enhance culture, improve service and support diversity and inclusion.

Why is the one-page important for you?

It’s great discipline to learn how to succinctly describe why you stand out in today’s crowded field of applicants.

Writing a one-page pitch forces you to think through why you’re applying for a position, why you want to work for an organisation, and why a prospective employer should mark a big tick on your application and put it in the ‘worth exploring further pile’.

Let’s face it, if you can’t nail what makes you special, how is someone else supposed too (or why should they bother)?

How do I nail writing a one-page pitch?

We know you’re probably thinking ‘How am I going to address everything required in one page?’ It’s possible. Trust us.

First step

Familiarise yourself with the job specifications and/or standards. Highlight important words and think about how you can address them.

Let’s use the PM&C example. Under job standards they have a ‘Who we are’ section. It specifies that the department ‘values people with ideas, the ability to present them persuasively, and the drive and skill to see them adopted’. You can see that your pitch must illustrate how you connect with these components.

Another example might involve the qualities listed under a heading like ‘Our ideal candidate’. You can see how your pitch must illustrate how you have these qualities.

Tips for actual writing

Tips for writing your one-page pitch.

  • Be strong at the start. Explain what job you’re applying for and why.
  • Draw them in. Share what you know about the prospective employer. Reflect back words they use so they identify with you. Show you understand their business.
  • Select the best (and relevant) bits about yourself that match the position. Don’t wander from these.
  • Share your major (and relevant) achievements. That’s the big-ticket items, not everything you’ve done since you entered the workforce.
  • Back yourself with proof. Use examples. Avoid general statements that assume the prospective employer will just trust what you’re saying.
  • Keep points short. Use short words, not long words. Use short sentences. Use short paragraphs. Use bullet points (wisely).
  • Use active language (subject + verb + object). This sentence construct is easier to read and it makes your writing engaging. It makes it sing. It builds momentum and excitement.
  • Use powerful verbs. They grab the reader’s attention.
  • Check grammar and spelling. It’s amazing how a typo can reflect badly on your application.
  • Present your material professionally. Don’t cram content into long line lengths or use a tiny font so you get to say more. It will be obvious what you’re doing.

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