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Your introduction will help your audience understand what makes you stand out and why your story is a compelling one. The content and length of your introduction should be customized to each specific situation.
- Content: Focus your message on your target audience and your goals for the interaction. Show how your interests and skills match with their needs. Explain your work in terms that will be understandable to your target audience. Highlight common experiences and/or passions.
- Length: If you are part of a group conversation, limit your introduction to more of a “headline” (one to two sentences about your background). If you are engaged in a one-on-one conversation, your pitch could be a bit long, roughly 60 seconds.
When drafting your introduction, consider the following steps:
- Write down the five to seven key requirements for your target role/company (use job descriptions and notes from networking conversations to help you identify them). Rate your proficiency on each requirement.
- Circle the key requirements for your target role where you have experience and a high proficiency; these are your relevant skills.
- List two to three experiences/accomplishments that demonstrate each of your relevant skills.
- Think about how to put those skills into a compelling headline/statement about your value proposition and interests.
- Draft multiple versions of your introduction—different lengths and different content for different audiences. Make sure that it sounds natural and conversational.
- Practice (out loud) and edit.
Here are some sample introductions:
- Person A: “In the past three years of my career, I have focused primarily on helping people communicate more effectively in a professional context.”
- Person B: “I’ve been an engineer since college and have really loved breaking down different business problems and using technology to solve them.”
- Person C: “During my consulting years, I realized that the experiences I most valued were those that allowed me to help build something new. So I joined STARTCO, where I helped launch new products for a year before enrolling in business school.”
Then you can vividly explain further by offering an example:
- Person A: “For example, I lead workshops for students in business school and teach them how to tell their personal stories in a way that inspires both them and their potential employers. I use ideas from Hollywood movies to help people uncover their natural storytelling abilities.”
- Person B: “In fact, on my last project, I examined a resuscitation device designed specifically for premature babies and discovered a way to make it more flexible and consistent, leading to 20% better outcomes.”
- Person C: “The coolest product I helped launch is called a ‘widget.’ In a span of only six months, we got the thing designed, manufactured, and distributed to a small market in southern California. It’s already profitable, so the company is planning to scale up production for a national launch in the next year.”
Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!