Job interview prep: your personal brand

July 25, 2011 – One of the most important questions you’ll be asked during a phone or in-person interview is usually the first one.

“Tell me about yourself.”

It sounds simple enough, but if you stumble on this question you may as well consider the interview over.

To answer this question the way a potential employer expects you to, it helps to have a 30 to 60 second elevator speech prepared that flows naturally. Some experts refer to this as your personal brand, while others call it your 30-second commercial.

Either way, it should incorporate the following pieces of information:

  • Your most recent position
  • Years of experience
  • Major responsibilities
  • Proudest accomplishment
  • Reason for leaving your last job or why you want to leave it
  • What you are looking for

Here’s an example:

“I am a marketing and communications professional with 15 years of experience in the financial industry. Most recently I worked for ABC Corporation where I was a communications manager handling internal communications for 11,000 associates. This involved working with senior executives to create business updates, Powerpoint presentations and employee messages. I also acted as managing editor for the corporate intranet. I left the company in September due to downsizing, and am currently looking for a position where I can use my exceptional writing, editing and organizational skills.”

It may seem like a mouthful, but if you take your time and speak clearly your personal brand acts as an icebreaker and creates a pleasant interview experience.

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