In addition to doing basic research of the company at which you’ll be interviewing, there are a variety of other things you need to accomplish in order to be the most well prepared candidate. One of these is to create a “Marketing Message” about yourself.
Your marketing message is essentially a 30 – 60 second recap of your job experience, along with some key accomplishments from that experience.
Why do you need this? It’s because many times the person interviewing you will start out with a question like this: “Tell us something about yourself”, or some variation of that question. You want to be able to do this smoothly and with no hesitation. This is your opportunity to present a “commercial” about yourself.
Basically, this needs to be a very condensed overview of your job history, plus a recap of your major skills, experience and accomplishments. Ideally, these will all be stated in terms that relate to the particular position for which you are interviewing.
You might ask why this is even necessary because you submitted a resume and cover letter when you applied and most, if not all, that information was included. But that’s not the point. The purpose of asking this question is so that the Hiring Manager can hear how you handle yourself when asked such a general question.
One thing to note is that the overview you give should be about your job experience, qualifications and accomplishment, NOT about your hobbies, personal interests or family life. At this point in the interview, the Hiring Manager is not interested in where you went to school, what town you were born in, how many children you have, etc. There will be time for that sort of information once you make it to the later stages of the interview. For now, the Hiring Manager is only interested in one thing: do you have the experience and qualifications to be considered for the job.
I’ve had many job applicants over the years stumble with trying to give an articulate overview of themselves and as a result come across as inarticulate and awkward. The best way to avoid this is preparation and practice, practice, practice.
What you should do is write out your marketing message in advance, making sure it includes your most significant accomplishments and experience (related to that job, of course!). Then, read it out loud and time yourself. The ideal length is more than 30 seconds but less than 60 seconds. This doesn’t sound like much time, but those 60 seconds can be an eternity when in a job interview!
You really don’t need to memorize your marketing message word for word. Your goal is to know it well enough to make your way through it comfortably, with no hesitations, while covering all of the important parts. When you can do this smoothly and confidently, you’re ready!