The Personal Pitch Deck: Unconventional ideas on getting a job

Cullin McGrath
3 min readMay 16, 2020

Hey there,

At the end of 2019, I lost my job due to downsizing. I had a tremendous amount of random experience (read: master of none) and was struggling to break through into a role I desperately wanted.

You see, I knew what I wanted in my career, but knew I had to differentiate.

I was tired of spending too much time on LinkedIn messages, resume updates, and new cover letters. There had to be a non-traditional way to display my passion and skill as it pertains to the roles at hand.

Long story short: I was able to get the job (or heavily increased my chances) because of a personal pitch deck, or otherwise a presentation. I have been asked quite a few times now what the slides looked like, both on Twitter and in real life.

Below is my thought process (with some background) as well as modified slides so you can get an idea for what I created. It could definitely be improved on, and templated, but it worked for me.

If you find this at all useful, or generally like these types of ideas, please consider checking out the rest of my website, subscribing to my newsletter, and following me on Twitter.

Thank you,

Cullin

SCENARIO

I had already had a conversation with the hiring manager. I got the feeling that I was under-qualified for this position, and that they feared hiring me would cost more than it would benefit. The role specifically requires a few hard and soft skills that I was struggling to outright prove I was capable of.

I went home after meeting for coffee and spent 8+ hours doing industry research, creating the PowerPoint, and crafting a follow-up email. This worked for me, but I am sure your mileage may vary. It’s worth considering you may want to tailor your approach — and also understand that there may be better candidates and it just won’t work out.

But if you still have hope — here’s a few ideas for crafting a personal pitch deck:

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS

1) If you can find branding or brand guidelines, match your PowerPoint as much as possible. I believe this displays your ability to be resourceful.

There are sites where you can upload an image and get hex-colors if you want to be precise with the design. You should be. Use their logo (if you can) in order to make it look nice.

2) Spend a substantial amount of time on the cleanliness, design, and spell check every single word. Small details add up.

3) Make sure you have a variety of images / tables / etc. It will make it more interesting to read and keep up with.

4) The more specific you can get to the role you are interested in, applying, or interviewing for, the better. Instead of saying you would be a good dog walker, say you have walked dogs your whole life and have even begun training them.

5) There is a lot of value in adding your personality into the slides. I made a few small jokes, and added personal elements to the end. Hiring managers generally want to know that they’re hiring a human that is going to be an advocate for the corporate culture.

6) Try and make your professional experience as applicable to the company and really focus on eliminating doubt. You’ll notice most of my presentation focused on providing direct explanations on how I can perform specific job description responsibilities. This was on purpose. I want them to know I can excel in this role.

If you like this kind of stuff, you should check out the rest of my writing and consider subscribing to my newsletter.

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Cullin McGrath

I like to think about the quiet but elephant-sized issues that help us level up in career and life. www.cullinm.com. I tweet @cullinmcgrath!