NEWS + ADVICE
How to Master Your Personal Introduction
Our top tips to help you perfect the most used tool in your cleared job search.
Whether you call it your elevator pitch, personal introduction, or 30-second commercial, you need to be able to quickly and clearly communicate who you are and what you’re looking for. It’s relevant in interviews, at job fairs, when you email your resume to someone asking for help, or in any setting where you’re talking about your job search. If you give context about yourself to people you’re networking with, it’s much easier for them to figure out how they can help you—or how you may be able to help them.
1. Keep it short
Your pitch shouldn’t be more than 30-45 seconds, or four to five sentences. Keep in mind how much time you would have during an elevator ride. Not very long, so boil it down to the essentials that quickly summarize who you are, what you do, and why you’re a great candidate.
2. Write your personal commercial
Think of headlines or an ad that you could write for yourself. State the main focus of your past work achievements and your current goals. A long list might come to mind, but you need to whittle it down to what’s most vital.
3. Highlight your value
When talking to employers, reference the type of work you’ve done, your strengths in that line of work, and soft skills that demonstrate your value. Make sure you interest the listener so they’ll want to know more.
4. Include your security clearance when appropriate
While you shouldn’t throw your security clearance around in most conversations, do include it when talking to a recruiter or hiring manager with a cleared facilities employer.
5. Avoid jargon and buzzwords
Make sure your pitch is easily understandable to all potential listeners and avoid jargon and industry lingo. This also goes for buzzwords. Don’t waste time listing clichés like “self-motived” and “goal-oriented” without justification. Focus instead on what makes you unique.
6. Keep context in mind
Tailor your information to the situation as necessary. When networking, include what brings you to the event, what issues you’re interested in, and ask the other person what interests them too.
7. Practice and polish it
Practice your personal introduction until it feels natural and you’ve mastered the main talking points. You’ll need several versions depending on the situation, so be sure you’re able to customize and adapt it when necessary. Ask for feedback from friends and practice until you can deliver it confidently.
Example for speaking with a recruiter at a Cleared Job Fair
I’m Jane Job Seeker, an award-winning web designer with a Top Secret clearance. I’ve been recognized by my customers for fulfilling user needs and delivering a finished product that exceeds project requirements (I go above and beyond). I recently collaborated (I’m a team player) with my technical team and led (soft skill) an initiative to successfully migrate customer website hosting. My proven ability to translate complex issues quickly and effectively in a fast-paced environment (I succeed under pressure) may be a good fit for your Sr. Web Designer opening in Huntsville….
Example for speaking with a professional in a Networking Scenario
I’m Joe Professional, a Program Manager for __________. I’m here tonight to explore new opportunities, because I love to help poorly performing contracts improve their metrics. What brings you to _____________?