How to Create the Perfect Personal Introductory Statement
It’s Thursday morning and you’re in line at your local coffee shop waiting for your usual order. While you’re waiting in line, the women behind you strikes up a conversation and in the course of the conversation she asks, “So, what do you do for a living?”. What do you say? Do you keep it simple and just tell him your job title? Do you give her your life story? The answer to this question is actually more important than you may think. What if you happen to be in the job market and the women happens to be a entrepreneur, recruiter, a CEO, or someone who would serve as a great network connection? You never want to miss an opportunity! You have one chance to make a great first impression.
Consider your answer to the question “What do you do for a living?” your personal introductory statement. The idea of having a strong introductory statement is to convey your marketing position. Everyone should have one regardless of your tenure or job status. Think of your introductory statement as your personal movie trailer. When a new movie comes out in theaters, you see short 20 – 30 second trailer with highlights of what the new movie is about. Don’t answer someone with your life story of how you got to where you are and all that you do. Give them a 25 second highlight – your movie trailer.
Let’s say you work in the IT industry as a sales professional for a major player in the educational technology arena at the corporate level. What should your personal introductory statement look like? Is saying “I’m in sales for an IT company” enough? No! What does that answer even mean exactly? What product do you sell? Do you sell for a small or large company? Do you sell B2B or B2C? This statement is too vague.
So what goes into a good personal introductory statement?
- Let your audience know that/if you’re available for work.
- Clearly identify what your skills / skill sets are – What is your area of expertise? What is your personal genius?
- Intertwine the size and magnitude of organization you work for or with – Are you doing IT sales for the mom & pop shop on the corner or for a global international company?
- Wrap up with value proposition of what you do – What are you helping to do? What results have you accomplished?
Let’s put these components into action. Now, go back to the coffee shop and your conversation with the woman you struck up a conversation with. She asks “what do you do for a living?”. Now you can give her your awesome introductory statement – “I am currently in the job market looking to align myself with an organization where I can utilize my 10+ years of sales expertise. Specifically, in the areas of IT solutions, Educational Learning, and SaaS for start-ups and established corporations where I’m able to penetrate new marketing channels that ultimately increase revenue and drive organizational profitability.” Boom! Insert... mic drop... here!
Now, you don’t want your introductory statement to sound scripted, but you always want to have the components readily available. Sit down and write it out. Walk away. Come back and fine tune it. Once you have this written out, you start to commit it to your subconscious and answering the question “What do you do for a living” will be easier every time. So next time, when put on the spot, giving your introductory statement will be second nature.
Gone are the days of just giving your name and job title. Don’t provide someone the opportunity to slot you into their own categories and pre-determined perceptions. Increasingly, HR professionals and executive recruiters are more comfortable with broader-based answers. They are beginning to understand that an individual’s genius trumps a job title.
Scott Miles is the Managing Partner and Operations Manager at Miles LeHane Companies. Scott works with clients, consultants, and client organizations on matters relating to reorganizations and career transition. Scott specializes in preparation for the day of separation.