by Iain Taylor
'Tell me a little about yourself?' It's often the first question an interviewer asks and the answer he remembers most.
Iain Taylor, Business Development & Marketing consultant
'Tell me a little about yourself?' It's often the first question an interviewer asks and the answer he remembers most, so it's important you nail your personal elevator pitch.
Whether you are actively looking for a new job or are a passive candidate, wanting to make a good first impression, it's important that you can professionally talk about yourself.
Now this isn't as easy as it sounds! Some people love themselves a little too much and don't know when to stop talking, while others find it cringe worthy to talk about themselves at all. Knowing how to talk about yourself in a way that conveys your strengths quickly, clearly and professionally can set the tone for the entire interview, but it takes practice.
Here are a few tips to help address the issue:
- Try and keep it short, anywhere between 15 - 60 seconds. Pick a few good points to highlight and then let your interviewer talk and follow up with more questions. No 15 minute monologues please!
- Earn the attention of the person you are speaking to so that your elevator pitch can become the start of a conversation, not a sales pitch. You need to remember to use clear language, not jargon or buzz words which will alienate your listener. Overly used phrases too like "team player" and "hard-working" are a real turn off because they lack credibility.
- It helps to project positivity and positive energy. If you're having a bad day, put that to one side, it shouldn't detract from who you are and what you can offer. Remember eye contact and a smile too and talk at a steady speed, not break neck speed!
- Memorising your pitch won't make it sound like you are reciting it like a parrot but it will appear natural and confident. Practice giving your answer clearly and concisely on friends (who will be honest with you) or record it and play it back to yourself - does it sound good to you?
- Remember that the content should be tweaked depending on your audience and over time, as your career develops and changes. If talking about yourself seems daunting, consider what your friends and family would say about you.
- Don't say anything in your pitch that you can't answer questions on, if you've engaged the interest of the listener they are bound to ask questions, if you can't answer then your credibility is already in question.
- If you are talking to a recruiter or hiring manager there's information that must be in your pitch: who you are, what you do and how you add value by sharing specifics on your accomplishments.
- If you are starting out in the employment market include what you studied and previous work experience success. However it's important to focus on stories and professional experiences that will etch a memory in the employer's mind rather than give a run-down of your entire background. Keep it focused! Be relevant! This is not the time to talk about family history and hobbies.
Now, it would be foolish to look a gift horse in the mouth, so here's the elevator pitch I gave about me and Thorpe Molloy Recruitment at a recent networking event - would it get your attention if we met in person?
Originally from Boat of Garten, I now live and work in Aberdeen as a Marketing and Business Development recruitment consultant for Thorpe Molloy Recruitment Ltd. I'm also studying for a Masters in Oil and Gas Law and as a pretty creative thinker, chose to propose to my girlfriend last year by shaving MARRY ME onto her horse!
With 16 years' experience in Aberdeen, 30 recruitment consultants covering 10 specialist areas, assisted by 13 support staff Thorpe Molloy Recruitment has built 1 impressive local network working with clients from sole enterprise, SME to major E&P companies.
This year we are hoping to raise £17,000 for The Sandpiper Trust and along with 16 of my colleagues I'm taking on the Ride the North cycle challenge from Inverness to Aberdeen in August.