When you don’t introduce yourself everyday, it’s easy to forget the basic rules that can help your introduction go smoothly.
Many professionals specialize on technical subjects and find that they forget how to introduce themselves.
The following tips will help you when introducing yourself to new people, these tips can be used in meetings, presentations, and job interviews:
- Smile. Generally we want to appear warm, confident, and friendly. The exceptions are situations where you don’t want to appear too easy going, for example: work involving investigations into banking fraud, law enforcement work, tax inspectors, auditing, etc.
- Look people in the eyes when you introduce yourself and every now and again whilst introducing yourself. If you maintain eye contact for too long and too intensely you may appear strange.
- In the western world (the U.S., Europe, U.K., Australia and New Zealand etc.) it is common to offer your hand for a handshake. This can be done in both formal and informal situations. In other parts of the world things are different. In some parts of Asia you may be expected to bow, this requires you to judge the correct degree of bow. Too little and you will appear rude, too much and you will appear peculiar. If you find yourself in these situations it’s best to apologize early and explain you are from America or England etc.
- If the introduction is being made during drinks or where food is being consumed take care to eat and drink small amounts at a time so that you can quickly clear your mouth (by swallowing not spitting). Also avoid foods or drinks that stick to your teeth or turn your mouth a bright or strange color (e.g. red wine, carrot juice, beetroot, etc).
- Try and avoid insulting or embarrassing the person you are meeting.
- Carry a tissue in your pocket to absorb any sweat from your hands or forehead. Many people get sweaty or clammy when introducing themselves.
- Be positive and professional about yourself and your business.
- Try and encourage positive conversation rather than focusing on gloomy news and politics.
When you’re required to introduce yourself in job interviews
Introducing yourself in a job interview is sometimes required whenthe interviewer asks “so tell me a little about yourself” or “could you give me a brief summary of your career and experience to date”.
Sometimes the interviewer will have a structured set of questions that will work logically through your resume and work experience.
Example of an introduction in a job interview
Interviewer: Hi Samantha, I’m Alison. Please come in.
The interviewer, or their assistance, should introduce themselves first and get you seated.
Interviewee: Hi Alison. Pleased to meet you.
Try and use the name they give you.
Interviewer: How was your journey?
There is usually some small-talk.
Interviewee: It was OK. No disasters on the trains today.
Try and appear competent, not unlucky or disaster prone.
Interviewer: That’s great. So tell me a little about yourself.
There may be some more small talk but at some point they may ask you to introduce yourself or give a brief summary of who you are etc.
Interviewee: Of course. Well, I was educated at .. in … and then started my career at … as a …From there I went onto work on .. and eventually specialized in … . I’ve now been in my current job for 3 years and am looking for the next challenge. I saw your advert for a … and it interested me because … and I believe it could be a rewarding experience for me.
Insert your own details in the gaps (marked by …). With a bit of practice you are aiming to introduce yourself as though you are being spontaneous. You can not write this down beforehand and simple read out your introduction from a piece of paper. That is not generally the way things work at interviews.
Interviewer: That’s an interesting career.
The interviewer should acknowledge that your introduction was interesting (even if it wasn’t) and then proceed with some interview questions.
Another Tips and Example for Practicing
Job interviews usually require you to introduce yourself at least once.
With a bit of preparation and practice you can have the art mastered so that you introduce yourself with ease and highlight how suitable you are for the job.
Let’s look at an example. If any of the following is obvious to your interviewer, then you can skip it. For example, if the interviewer knows your name and you have already said hello, skip the first line.
Example of an introduction at a job interview
- Hello. My name is Bob Gold (A smile is generally good unless it’s an interview in law enforcement, auditing, etc.).
- I currently work as a Property Consultant in the New York area. (Or, if you are between jobs, you can say ‘ I previously worked as … until the company went bankrupt/insolvent/was downsized etc.).
- My experience to date covers a variety of areas and recently I have been known as a specialist in commercial leasing.
- My objectives for the future are to develop my knowledge and experience in the areas of xyz and hence I am here today for this interview.
- When I’m not focusing on my work I enjoy spending time with my family up in the Rocky mountains. My hobbies include fishing, trekking, and recently I returned from The Alps in Switzerland.
- Please feel free to ask me any questions if you’re interested in any particular area. Thank you
Notes on introducing yourself in interviews
- Try and make your introduction positive and enthusiastic.
- Try and appear friendly and approachable.
- Speaking clearly and loudly is good. Mumbling and whispering should be avoided.
- If your work or hobbies could be perceived as controversial you may need to put a different spin on your introduction. Generally, interests in controversial politics (e.g. communism and fascism), terrorism, fundamentalism, guns, and bombs should be avoided.
- Even good intentioned hobbies like helping the environment, charitable work, campaigns to stop the wars, for truth, etc. can be perceived as ‘trouble making’. Safe hobbies are sports (not guns), food, travel (not to war zones), film, TV opera, and theater.