Tell me about yourself.

It sounds like such a simple question, but I’ve seen some incredible leaders absolutely freak out when answering it.

I’ve watched the light die in recruiters’ eyes as they listened to a 2-3 minute autobiography – most of the content not even remotely related to the positions they are looking to fill.

I’ve personally listened to thousands of people answer this question as a hiring manager, at network events and as a mentor.

Call it an Elevator Pitch or know that it will be one of the first questions asked in most interviews, but it is something many of us struggle with and tt doesn’t have to be that way!!!

The SECRET? Keep it short and let the recruiter, employer or person you are networking with ask questions.

It is called an elevator pitch because it is supposed to be done by the time you “get off the elevator.” This means 30 seconds or less!!

Look – the other person wants to engage in the conversation and determine if you might be a match for one of their requirements. They need the opportunity to ask questions, to which you can then provide details (when necessary). Give them the chance to talk!

Aim for about 20 seconds (it is still a long time) and give them an overview of: your related experience, what you are looking for and where you want to do it. You can include a personal anecdote or story to be memorable, but keep it relevant.

Bonus: it is human nature, but we tend to develop deeper connections with people when we engage in active conversation. Letting the other person engage often in the conversation helps them remember you more (as long as you were memorable).


  • Michael Quinn

    2018 LinkedIn Top Voice for Management & Workplace

      Army Sergeant Major (Ret), Senior Manager at EY, 2018 LinkedIn Top Voice for Management & Workplace and CEO of HireMilitary – Michael is an expert on the military to civilian career transition and helps people around the world navigate LinkedIn, personal branding, networking, communication, social media and team building.