Many employers make decisions about job candidates within the first 30 seconds to two minutes of having met them.  And what is the basis for their decision about a job seeker?  Their first impression of the person! While a first impression can be changed, how you present yourself initially to an employer will have a huge impact on whether or not you are hired for a job.

One of the most strategic things that you can do for yourself in making a good first impression is to develop a "Strengths Summary" (about 30 seconds in length) about what you can do for an employer. This "commercial" has also been called an "elevator speech" because it can be delivered in about the time it takes to ride from the bottom floor to the top of a building in an elevator.

Your "30-second commercial" can help you get people's attention and communicate key information about yourself in the following situations:

  • Introducing yourself to potential employers in person;
  • Leaving a voice mail message for prospective employers;
  • Informal networking with friends, family and people you meet at church, kids' events, sporting activities, etc.;
  • Networking at job fairs, professional meetings, and other business events;
  • Answering interview questions such as, "Tell me about yourself";
  • During performance evaluations or when applying for promotions or other job opportunities within your own organization.

If you are job hunting, you will want to develop a tailored 30-second commercial for each of your job targets (if you have more than one). Identify the key information about your transferable skills, experience, knowledge areas, and personal skills (that is, personality traits) that relate to each job target. Write out the information in paragraph form, and then work with your sentences until they sound conversational.

Jane is currently a management trainer who wants to make a career transition into graphic arts. Jane was at her child's school for Open House, and discovered that one of the other parents there owned a large graphic arts company. After talking to him for a while, she told him she was interested in getting into the field, and asked if he had any advice for her. He responded by saying, "Tell me a little bit about your background." Jane was ready with her 30-second commercial! She said:

"I've had two years of work experience designing and producing brochures, newsletters and training materials. I'm proficient with several desktop publishing programs including Adobe PageMaker, Microsoft Publisher and QuarkXPress as well as PhotoShop. Last year I saved my employer more than $6,000 by doing the work he'd previously outsourced. I'm also skilled in providing good customer service, handling pressure and meeting deadlines. I really enjoy the graphic arts field and look forward to having an opportunity to work full-time in it."

He was so impressed that he invited her to come by his office the next day to talk further about how she might fit into a new project his company had just undertaken. Why did Jane get this opportunity? Because she was prepared to let someone know what she had to offer!

Don't let any opportunities for connecting with a potential employer or another important contact pass you by! Get prepared today with your own 30-second Strengths Summary. People can't guess what you have to offer; you need to be able to communicate what you can do and how you can meet an employer's needs.

© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, www.ChristianCareerCenter.com. All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.