The 30-second Commercial

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The key to a successful interview or networking opportunity is setting a positive first impression. By preparing a 30-second commercial, you will have a concise overview of your experience, strengths, skills, achievements, and goals. This will be useful in a variety of settings including networking events, career fairs, and job interviews whenever responding to “Tell me about yourself.”

Where to Start

When formulating a 30-second commercial, you must ask yourself some key questions:

  • What are your career goals?
  • What are your skills and strengths?
  • What accomplishments or experience do you have that demonstrate these skills and strengths?
  • How has your education and experience prepared you for this position or to reach your career goals?
  • What are you looking for in a job or company?
  • What do you have to offer to this company?
  • What sets you apart from the other applicants?

What to Cover

The beginning of this “commercial” will be tailored to the situation. In some situations you may need to introduce yourself while giving a firm handshake; other times you will have already been introduced, so this would be overkill. Discussing your education and experience will be helpful, but do not forget to mention how they have led to your goals for this position and future career. Give information about your greatest strengths and skill sets and prove these by demonstrating how you have used them or how they have led to an accomplishment. Do not forget to bring everything back to how these experiences and skills will benefit this company or this position. More detail will be needed during an interview; therefore, this may be expanded to cover all of the important points and will last longer than 30 seconds. The ending will depend on the situation and should address why you are there.


Portray confidence and enthusiasm without sounding fake or conceited. This should be practiced but not recited word for word; the goal is to sound authentic and non-scripted. The information discussed should remain professional and relevant without revealing too much personal or irrelevant information. Grabbing the attention of the listener without losing his/her interest or going overboard is important in order to continue the conversation. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression!

30-second Commercial