Probably one of the most stressful moments in our professional careers is when we have to start a job search. Often, we begin the process by creating one or more resumes and cover letters, along with a LinkedIn profile. We expect this to be all we need to land a job. The task is to click off enough resumes and letters to employers on the job boards so we get hired, right?
Wrong! A goal of my business is to collaborate with job seekers for the development of job search marketing tools—resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles—so I’m thrilled when just sending out this material gets results.
Creating our career marketing documents is usually just the start of our job search process. Most of the time we will have to speak with people—industry contacts, recruiters, hiring managers, and others–and succinctly tell them about ourselves.
Have your pitch ready for that unexpected opportunity.
“Tell me about yourself,” the interviewer says.
“So, what do you do?” asks the person you just met at a networking get-together.
You find yourself on an elevator with a person you’ve wanted to meet. What do you say?
Be ready to say something! It’s smart to prepare a brief summary of your background and experience. Often called an “elevator pitch” — because it should be short enough to give during an elevator ride — there are many situations when a short, pre-prepared introduction (no more than 30 seconds) will come in handy.
This introduction can be used:
- When at networking events in person or on Zoom,
- In voice mail messages,
- On career documents (in the cover letter, for example),
- In job interviews,
- When a stranger strikes up a conversation with you in line at the grocery store, or
- To request an informational interview.
You have probably heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” So how do you provide a brief, concise introduction of yourself? This post will give you one easy formula to help, no matter what your profession or where you’re using the introduction.
Try this introduction strategy.
Your introduction should answer four questions:
- Who are you? (education, work experience, skills, specialization)
- What do you do?
- What sets you apart?
- Where do you want to go from here?
This sounds daunting, so we will give you a simple way to accomplish this.
Simple Formula (Profession, Time, Industry)
The simplest formula is to identify your current profession — or the profession you hope to be in — and the number of years and industry you work in. You can also include the name of the company you work for, if it’s a recognizable name.
The formula looks like this:
I’m a [job title] with [time in the industry] doing [what]
[Profession] with [time] in [industry]
I’ve worked as a [job title] for [company name] for [number of] years
I’m a middle school principal with 3 years in my current position, and 11 years in the education field overall.
I’m a recent college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business and specialization in digital marketing and media.
I’ve worked as an accountant for 5 years with a Big Four accounting firm.
I’m a marketing and public relations director at Hudl.
If you’re using the formula in a job search, you can add a sentence about what kind of role you’re seeking.
That formula would be:
[Profession] with [time] in [industry], [seeking]…
I’m a sales representative with 14 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry and I’m looking for a sales leadership role.
I’ve been an operations manager for a national furniture retailer for the past 6 years, and I’m looking to leverage my customer service, project management, and supervisory experience into a general management role in a Fortune 1000 company.
If you’re responding to the “tell me about yourself” question, you can add a sentence about your background to communicate key areas of your career and to highlight job and industry strengths.
I’m a retail merchandising manager with 9 years working at a big box store. I’m looking to use my inventory management and organizational skills to transition to a warehouse management role. My background includes experience setting up RFID systems to improve inventory tracking and reporting.
Additional strategies are available.
Frankly, I’ve never met anyone that has used their elevator speech on an elevator. Nonetheless, the concept of a short business introduction that will work in many situations is invaluable. I’ve been called on numerous times to introduce myself briefly at Zoom industry meetings. That may have happened to you, too. Don’t be discouraged if the strategies above do not seem right for you. We have other approaches that we will suggest in upcoming blog posts.