How to introduce yourself in an interview

“So tell us a bit about yourself”

Some candidates think that this is an invitation to recite everything on their CV word for word from start to finish.

We wish they wouldn’t and here’s why:

Not only is it boring for the interviewer; it doesn’t answer the question!  The interviewer already has your CV, so wants to learn something more about you.

So how then should you introduce yourself?  First you need to write a short summary of yourself.

Mary’s Great Intro

One of our candidates, Mary, had prepared a short summary of herself and used it at the top of her CV:

  • Over 10 years professional experience in education industry with top education companies including (a famous company) and around 2 years experience working overseas.
  • Professional experiences that are focused on project management and business development in the education industry.
  • Excellent leadership skills; good at motivating and training the team; and good at working across functions in an organisation.
  • Organized and able to think problems through; pro-active person with a can-do attitude
  • Good presentation and analytical skills
  • A wide array and depth of resources in education industry.

Having created this summary for her CV, Mary was able to use it as the basis for her personal introduction.  

Here’s how she introduced herself to us:

“I have over 10 years experience working in the education industry including 5 years with (a famous company).  I also worked for 2 years in Australia after I graduated from (an Australian university).

At (a famous company) I was responsible for managing a range of projects as well as new business development.

I also I led a small team of 2 staff and believe I developed excellent leadership skills.  During that time I worked closely with colleagues in other departments, including those overseas, with which I feel I collaborated well and was able to motivate effectively through influencing and persuasion to achieve our collective goals.

I’m highly a organised person; and a proactive problem solver.  I like to think of myself as someone with a can-do attitude.

I think I’ve developed good presentation and analytical skills, which appear to be important for this role.

And I feel at this stage of my career I have a range of useful resources in the education industry, all of which I believe I can bring to your company and this role.”

That’s a pretty impressive introduction.

And it’s full of key words all of which are designed to position her as a high value candidate.  Here’s some of the key words:

Experience, new business development, leadership, collaborated, motivate, influencing, persuasion, collective goals, highly organised, problem solver, can-do, resources.

From the key words the interviewer gets to know very quickly what type of person they’re talking to and then gets a strong, positive reminder that she has the potential to bring all this value to the role and the organisation.

Then they can start going into her CV in more depth, asking questions about her particular experiences, about which she should have short and to the point examples of things she’s done, experienced or achieved that support those key words.

Don’t be under any illusions: getting prepared for an interview takes a lot of work but it’s worth it if you can get off to a good start in an interview with a strong statement describing who you are, why you’re good and what you can bring to the role and the organisation.

Photo courtesy of 123RF

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