30-second Introduction

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A 30-second introduction shares highlights about your interests, experience, strengths, accomplishments, and/or goals – all in 30 seconds! It captures the interest of the person you are attempting to engage and makes a strong first impression.  Use your 30-second introduction at networking events and career fairs; in interviews in response to the “tell me about yourself” question; and anywhere you get an opportunity to speak with someone in a field you’d like to explore – even on an elevator!

The structure of a 30-second introduction can include:

  • HELLO: my name is…
  • CURRENT ROLE: For students, this could be degree, major and expected graduation.
  • WHAT I BRING: highlights from experience in terms of relevant knowledge or skills developed, accomplishments from school, internships, work, volunteering, research, or activities like clubs, sports, etc.  In some cases, you can be explicit about how you would immediately benefit the company.
  • QUESTION: Your interest in this person or a field and what you want to learn from this interaction
    • I’ve done extensive research on your website about your internship program.  I’m very interested in Research and Development.  Can you tell me a little more about the project work done by summer interns?

Practice, practice, practice. 

Your 30-second introduction should be conversational and natural so that you appear confident, enthusiastic, poised and professional. Although prepared in advance, it should never sound memorized -  you want to engage the listener and give him/her an opportunity to see your personality.

Here are some questions to think about in developing your 30 second introduction:

  • What is your career goal?
  • What skill, strength, or experience do you have that would help you realize that goal?
  • What are you searching for in a job?
  • How can you immediately benefit the company?


Hello, my name is Mary Lions and I am a sophomore at Columbia studying English.  I’m interested in exploring career opportunities in media, specifically in fashion and lifestyle editorial writing.  I was very involved in my high school newspaper and am currently working as a freelance writer for the Columbia Spectator and enjoying my work.  I noticed that you are working at Condé Nast. Could you please share with me how you entered your field?

Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I am a senior at Columbia studying mechanical engineering.  I’m interested in entering the aerospace defense industry, specifically in design engineering.  I’ve done an internship with Raytheon doing 3D drafting and modeling for heavy equipment using ProE. I’m on the ultimate frisbee team and really enjoy being in a team environment. Boeing is my top choice employer.  I’ve attended your information session and am really excited to apply for your training program.  Can you tell me a little more about the selection process once I’ve submitted my resume online?

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