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How to Introduce Yourself in Ten Seconds

Your ten-second introduction is what you say when you shake someone’s hand, call someone on the phone, or stand up in front of a group.  It describes who you are, what you do, and what you are looking for in a clear and memorable way.  One effective format is the benefits-oriented introduction, where you state a key benefit that you offer your potential employers before giving your occupation or job title.  Here are some examples created by C.J. Hayden and Frank Traditi in their book, Get Hired NOW!:

  • “I’m Wendy Chang.  I help high-tech companies close sales with customers who need complex technical solutions.  I’m a technical sales rep looking for a new position in the Houston area.”

  • “My name is Ian McDermott.  I develop leadership skills in management teams.  I’m a corporate training director exploring career opportunities in the financial services industry.”

The advantage of this format is that it positions you in the mind of the listener before they have a chance to form their own opinions about what you do.  If you introduce yourself as a project manage, for example, your listener has no way to know what a project manager does or what kind of projects you manage.  An introduction that begins, “I manage new software installations for corporate clients,”is specific enough to be understood and remembered.

Notice that all these introductions use plain language rather than industry jargon.  Unless you know exactly who are your listeners, use terms a twelve-year-old would understand.

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