Science shows that your brain decides whether you like someone or not within the first few seconds of interaction. That’s not a long time to make a powerful first impression. Chances are you’re still stumbling over “nice to meet you” and they’ve already put you on the ‘not interested’ pile.
“So, tell me about yourself”
You get it at the start of interviews, when you first meet a girl, and in the elevator with a new business acquaintance. This is your personal ‘elevator pitch’ – you’ve got 30 seconds to make a powerful impression on the person asking; showing who you are, what you’ve done, build rapport, and give them a reason to gravitate towards you. Here’s how to sell yourself like a professional instead of panicking, mumbling for a few seconds and getting out before your stop.
1. Know Your Worth
I was always told that there are only two things that can hold you back in life: fear and self-doubt. Self-doubt is a vice, it cripples champions and winners and stops them from achieving their potential simply because they think they can’t do it. In order to know your true worth and sell yourself, you need to overcome this. For the sake of your elevator pitch, take stock of what you’ve done, recall your achievements, know where you are now, and write them down if you have to. I guarantee you’ve done more than you realise. Choose five of the best, make them diverse.
Conversely, you do have weaknesses. That’s a fact and knowing them is the first step to increasing your worth. Don’t give these any airtime, but let the humility of knowing your weaknesses reflect in your pitch – you’re not invincible.
2. Tailor Effectively
Who are you talking to? A girl you just met at a bar doesn’t want to hear about your coding hobby, she wants to hear about the six months you spent in Canada. The interviewer wants to hear what you did at university and what unique skills you have that make you valuable to the company. Unfortunately, you’ll almost never be delivering to the same crowd so you need to tweak it to suit your audience. Understand which pieces of info about you they want to hear the most and give it to them. Try to have a point of difference as well – interviewers get the same people talking the same trash all day. If you can tailor yourself to stick out you’ll be one step closer to success than the next guy.
3. Structure Your Content
Keep it chronological. Start at the beginning of your notable life and move forward. For many people, this tends to start with university (no one cares where you went to school), or if it’s more personal than professional you can begin with where you’re from. Move forward along the timeline to what you’re doing at the moment – speaking about your current job is inevitable as it shows the most about your current position, choose how much time you give it based on how proud you are of it. Next, you’ll want to mention your future and where you’re headed. If you think you’re boring, this is your time to shine because you can be anything you want. Your goals and plans show people a phenomenal amount about who you are without actually having done anything.
Always use the word ‘excited’, enthusiasm trumps skill on many occasions.
4. Keep It Tight
If someone has asked the question, they are interested in you. You’d be surprised how quickly this interest diminishes as your speech drags on. Avoid glazed eyes by keeping it to 30 seconds, or if your resume looks like Elon Musk’s, under a minute. The longer you talk, the more you are watering down your pitch with info that shouldn’t have made the cut. Avoid babbling on by keeping it succinct and only dispensing your tightest qualities and information.
5. Learn It
This ties everything up. As I mentioned, every pitch is likely to be different. With job interviews you’ve got ample time to prepare so there’s no excuses, but it’s often the coincidental run-in that catches us off guard. Know your worth and be able to rattle off the five most relevant and impressive pieces of your personal story at all times to avoid freezing up under pressure.
And lastly; smile.
To complete the package and look the part, check out our guide on how to dress for the office.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures.