How do you introduce yourself when you meet a networking contact or a potential employer? Do you just blurt out whatever comes to mind and hope that they’ll be impressed? Employers form opinions about candidates quickly and once they have an impression of you, it’s difficult to change it. Here are some tips that will help you craft a professional introduction that’ll leave the employer wanting more:
Keep it short. Your elevator speech shouldn’t be much longer than 30 seconds. Give them the basics about your target position and how your education and experience makes you the perfect fit.
Cater your pitch to your audience. Don’t forget the pivotal question, “What’s in it for me?” Why might this person be interested in your skills? Find something that will get their attention.
Make it sound natural. Practice your pitch out loud so that it sounds conversational. Don’t memorize it or you’ll sound like a commercial. Just know your key points and focus on the discussion.
Solicit feedback. Practice your elevator pitch in front of a friend or a trusted colleague. Ask them how you come across and if they have any pointers for you. By opening yourself up to criticism now, you prevent yourself from making a costly mistake when it really counts.
Close the deal. What do you want to get out of this introduction? Are you trying to get an interview? A job offer? If you’re not clear about what you’re trying to achieve, you may impress the employer but still fail to get your desired outcome.
Being able to make a good impression is a valuable skill; you never know where the connections that you make will take you. Be confident and stay focused on the person that you’re talking to and they’ll be impressed enough to want a second conversation.
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo by: Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net)