Lake Superior State University
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Your Two-Minute Summary: A Key to a Successful Interview

Too many people blow interview opportunities. They spend hours contacting employers and learning about jobs. They write dozens of letters of application, but when they finally get to the interview they fail to follow through. They forget that the job does not always go to the best candidates--it often goes to the person who is best prepared for the interview.

One way to sell yourself in an interview is to develop a two-minute summary of your background and qualifications. You are not likely to use it in two uninterrupted minutes, but you should use segments as you respond to questions or volunteer information.

1. Prepare a Summary of Your Qualifications
Work up a two-minute statement on your education, training, and work experience related to the job for which you are applying. If you can't tie yourself into the job for which you are applying, why should the employer hire you?
2. Stress Achievements Which Are Unique
The employer likely knows where you went to school, what jobs you have held, etc. You need to add information on your accomplishments during those experiences. Did your campus group have great success because of something you did? What did you do in a past job which was of particular merit?
3. Slant Your Presentation to the Job in Question
Depending upon the job involved, vary the contents of your two-minute summary. Emphasize items which may be of particular relevance to the position for which you are interviewing. For one job, you may want to show how well you marketed past activities. For another, you may wish to demonstrate unique computer skills.
4. You Are Interesting, So Show It
Try to include one or two things which reflect your special interests--to humanize your application. Were you a competitive swimmer in high school? Did you volunteer on a political campaign? Has your family done anything which is paritcularly interesting?
5. Tell What You Can Do Well
By emphasizing your strong points which are closely related to the job in question, you will help link yourself to the position and subtly persuade the employer to hire you.
6. Combine All Your Qualifications for the Job
Be sure to dip into all your background to cite courses, summer activities, volunteer and community projects, past employment, etc., to pick from each experiences which help prepare you for the job.
7. Show Your Knowledge of the Employer
As you present your qualifications, you should relate your attributes to the needs of the employer and thus demonstrate your special knowledge of the particular organization.

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