How to introduce yourself in a job interview
How to Introduce Yourself at a Job Interview
“Tell me about yourself.” If you have an interview coming up, then there is a strong possibility that you will hear this request from a potential employer. While this part of an interview may seem easy, job applicants often stumble over this part of the interview if they are unprepared. When employers ask you to introduce yourself, they are really looking for a concise yet detailed profile that will help them get to know you better personally and professionally. Keep reading to find out how to prepare, practice, and deliver a successful job interview introduction.
Preparing your Introduction
Review your application materials.Reread your cover letter and resume to remind yourself of what you have already foregrounded on paper. Highlight items that you would like to mention specifically or summarize in your introduction.
Review the job posting.Identify the most important skills that the employer is looking for and make notes of these so that you can incorporate them into your introduction. Mentioning these things will remind employers of why they selected your resume and it will help intensify their sense that you are a good fit for the job.
Think about what they might want to hear about you.Be honest and be yourself, but there is nothing wrong with highlighting the aspects of your professional experience that your potential employers will be most interested in. Thinking about what your potential employer will want to hear will also help you to decide what to leave out or minimize in your introduction.
Ask yourself some questions.To develop your introduction and figure out what you should include, ask yourself some questions. Who are you? Why do you want to work for this company? What skills and professional experiences do you have that qualify you to work here? What do you hope to accomplish in your career? Write out your answers to these questions and use them to help craft your introduction.
- You might start with something like, "I recently graduated from ____ with a degree in ____" If you have any honors, slip those into this opening line as well. If you are a seasoned professional, you might try "I have been working as a ____ for ___ years." You could also provide a little personal information in your introduction, such as "I am an avid ____ musician and music lover."
- After your opening, talk about your skills. Say something like, "I excel at ____ and ____." And then, offer an example of a project you worked on that demonstrates your skills in this area.
- Finally, mention your career goals and offer a transition into the conversation about how you might work on those goals within the company. Say "My goal is to ____ and I am excited to discuss how your company might offer me opportunities to ____."
Decide on an attention grabbing way to start your introduction.Get creative and think of a way to start your introduction that will help your interviewers remember you. Choose something that fits who you are. For example, if you love to read you might start by saying that you identify with a famous literary character and then explain why by listing your skills. Or if you are extremely tech savvy and want to highlight that aspect of your skill set, you might begin by mentioning what comes up when you Google yourself and use then provide more details about yourself and your skill set.
Write out your introduction.To make sure that you will remember all of your key points, turn your notes into a paragraph long (3-5 sentences) introduction. Write your introduction out exactly how you plan to say it. Start by providing basic details about yourself (who are you?), then move into details about your professional skills and experiences, and then finish by briefly stating your major career goals. This last part is especially important because it is your opportunity to tell your interviewer why you’d be a good fit for the job without saying it so explicitly.
See what you can simplify and/or clarify.Revise your introduction paragraph to see what might need simplification or clarification. Your introduction should be concise, yet thorough. Remember, your potential employer is not looking for a ten minute presentation about you, just a quick overview of who you are.
Part 1 Quiz
What is the most important reason to review the job posting again before you write your introduction?
Practicing Your Introduction
Read your introduction out loud several times.Reading your introduction out loud will help you to prepare to introduce yourself as well as check for any minor inconsistencies or things you forgot to mention.
Memorize the key points of your introduction.While you do not need to memorize what you have written word-for-word, you should at least memorize your key points and the order in which you want to give them.
Rehearse your introduction until it sounds natural and conversational.Practice make perfect! Practice giving your introduction several times until it does not sound rehearsed anymore. You may also want to enlist the help of a friend to listen to you and provide feedback on how your introduction sounds.
Consider making a video recording of yourself giving the introduction.Even though it might make you feel a little odd to watch yourself, you will benefit from hearing what you sound like and seeing how you look when you are giving your introduction.
Make a cheat sheet of your main talking points.Write down your main talking points on an index card and keep it with you so that you can easily refresh your memory before an interview. Having this card with you will help you to feel more secure as well, since you can always glance down at the card if you get nervous.
Relax.Take a deep breath and head to the interview. You’ve prepared extremely well for the introduction part of the interview, so you can rest easy that you are set up to make a great first impression. But keep in mind that even if you are a bit nervous, it’s okay. It will only show your potential employer that you really want the job.
Part 2 Quiz
How can you practice your introduction?
Delivering Your Introduction
Walk into the interview confidently.Don’t hesitate or stand around when your interviewer invites you in. Simply walk confidently into the room and sit across from your interviewer unless he/she directs you to do otherwise. While you are sitting, do not fidget with your hands or shake your leg. Fidgeting sends a clear message to your potential employer that you are nervous.
Shake your interviewer’s hand.Make sure your handshake is firm (but not hand crushing) and keep it short. Two or three shakes is sufficient. Also, try to warm up and dry your hands before the interview so that your interview is not shocked by freezing cold or sweaty hands.
Smile and be pleasant when you first meet your interviewer.Your interviewer may want to engage in a bit of small talk before the interview begins. Just smile and be yourself. Don’t worry about discussing your skills until the interview officially begins.
Make eye contact with your interviewer.Even if you are very nervous, making and keeping eye contact with your interviewer will make you seem more confident. Don’t stare, but look your interviewer in the eyes when he/she is talking to you.Looking around the room or looking down are obvious signs that you are nervous.
Introduce yourself right away.When your interviewer asks you to introduce yourself, don’t hesitate. While it is fine to pause when your interviewer asks other more difficult questions or to collect your thoughts while providing an answer, pausing during the “tell me about yourself” portion of an interview is a bad idea.Pausing during this early stage of the interview process may give your interviewer the impression that you are unprepared or that you simply don’t know your strengths very well.
Stick to your talking points.Don’t ramble or add onto the introduction that you so carefully crafted before your interview. You may end up sounding repetitive or nervous if you talk for too long. Just say what you have planned and rehearsed and then stop talking. Your interviewer will ask you if he/she wants to know more or if you need to clarify something.
Stay positive.Even if you feel like your introduction didn’t sound as good as when you practice at home, keep in mind that you have been offered an interview because you are qualified for the job. Don’t beat yourself up for something small you did or said, focus on what you did well instead.
Part 3 Quiz
Why should you make eye contact with the interviewer?
QuestionWhen introducing myself, should I use "Mr.," or just my first name?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should just use your first and last name.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are good questions to ask interviewer?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhat will be the biggest challenge for me in this role? How will I be evaluated in this position? How often do evaluations occur? What is the company’s business planning for the next 2-5 years?Thanks!
QuestionShould I make a habit of asking for the interviewer's name at the start of the interview?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, it is a good habit to do so and will give a good impression to the interviewer.Thanks!
QuestionWhen introducing myself, do I state my qualifications or wait?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhen you introduce yourself, remind the interviewer of your name preceded by your title (Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc.). Ask the interviewer for their name if you don't already know it. You will bring up your qualifications when he/she asks why are you a good fit for the company or what would you bring to a team. This will likely be the first question you are asked.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I properly answer the question, "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you have a specific career goal in mind, you should go into detail about that and how far you hope to have come in 5 years. If you don't have a specific career goal in mind, you could just say that you hope to still be working in that field and advancing your knowledge.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I explain myself to job interviewers?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust answer your questions honestly and clearly, and in a positive manner.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I answer when the interviewer asks me about my desired salary?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should go through the salary packages the company is offering (if possible), or look up average salaries for the line of work in your area. Then, you could say something like, "I understand that positions similar to this one pay in the range of $X to $Z in our region. With my experience, I would like to receive something in the range of $Y to $Z."Thanks!
How do I greet the interviewers as soon as I enter the interviewing room. One after the other or a general greeting?
What are the most common questions asked at a job interview?
How to explain my self to an interviewer?
How can I find out what kind of questions will be asked at a specific job interview?
What questions will be asked for information officers?
- Never chew gum during an interview. If you need to freshen your breath before an interview, pop a breath mint into your mouth. Just make sure that you finish it before you have to start talking.
- Bring extra copies of your resume to distribute to your interviewer(s) just in case. Your preparation will show your interviewer that you are a reliable person.
- Arrive about 10-15 minutes early to your interview. This extra time will show that you are punctual and it will also give you a chance to review your cheat sheet before the interview begins.
Sources and Citations
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