The Art of Interviewing: The 90-Second Introduction

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The 90-second introduction is a thumbnail sketch of your educational and career history.

Next to your printed resume, it will likely be your most used self-marketing tool. This framework will help you make a winning first impression by providing an appropriate response when interviewers say, “Tell me about yourself.”

If the interviewer does not ask this question, you can conveniently lift out portions of your prepared response to answer other questions or to introduce yourself during a networking meeting.

When preparing your 90-second introduction, your goal is to emphasize accomplishments and tell your story in an interesting way. Be sure to use action verbs when describing key achievements.

Guidelines for Your 90-Second Introduction

  1. Introduction: Present the “big picture” overview of your career. 
Example: “For the past 15 years my career has focused on instructional design, primarily in the pharmaceutical industry.”
  2. Early Career: Your educational background (if applicable) and a very brief summary of your early work experience, progression and key accomplishments. 
Example: “After completing my BA in journalism, I began my career with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals as an entry-level instructional designer. In this role, I developed two award-winning instructor-led courses and three award-winning elearning courses that have been recognized at several national conferences. After five years, I was promoted to a senior instructional designer position where I managed teams of up to four less-experienced instructional designers in addition to my normal work responsibilities.”
  3. Most Recent Experience: Focus on key accomplishments and scope of responsibility here. Example: “Most recently, as a senior instructional designer and trainer for ABC Corporation, I identified the training needs for our domestic sales force consisting of 650 sales representatives and 55 regional and district managers, and I developed training programs that enhanced performance in the field. Because of the influx of product roll-outs, I was part of a team responsible for launching five of our top product lines, and I developed a comprehensive training program for each.”
  4. Critical Junction: At this point, explain why you are looking for work. Keep it short and sweet! Example: “As you may know, ABC Corporation was recently acquired by XYZ Company and my role, along with several others throughout the nation, was eliminated due to consolidation of certain business functions.”
  5. The Future: This is where you talk about your target industry, position, function or role. It also gives you the opportunity to summarize what you have to offer (key skills/strengths) as well as what you are looking for. Example: “Because of my extensive experience in the industry coupled with my instructional design achievements, I am targeting a training leadership position within the pharmaceutical industry.”

This presentation gives the interviewer a chance to observe not only what you say but also how you say it, how professional you are, and how you will fit in. It is a chance for you to sell yourself and to make that important first impression count. Done well, it should give the interviewer a “flavor” of who you are.

Get An Interview

Browse open positions with ProEdit’s staffing partners across North America. Set up a profile, and apply. Qualified applicants can test out their 90-second introductions during an interview.

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