By:    John Holmgren

When I went to work for IBM many years ago as an entry-level sales representative, my fellow trainees had to develop and present a 30 second answer to the question, asked by a prospective customer, “Why are you here?”

It was the best advice and training I ever received, from a company that knows its stuff.

I have said, in several blogs, that the part of your resume above the fold on page 1 is THE critical information.  The persuasiveness of that “data” is whether you get an interview.

The reader of your resume will spend 30 seconds to a minute to accept or reject you.

That accept / reject procedure is exactly the same story with your interview.

First, let’s define “interview”.  The obvious is that you are invited to an organization to talk with one of their representatives.

However, there are many, many more subtle situations from which you can gain leads.

For instance, your neighbor / hairdresser / barber / banker asks, “So, what will you do next?”

If you have your previously thought out and rehearsed answer ready, you may just impress that person with your focus and attractiveness as a productive employee.

When you are looking for employment, EVERYONE is a lead, a member of your network.

So, how do you prepare?  Have several 30 second speeches absolutely memorized.

  • Why are you here?
  • How can you help our organization?
  • What went wrong with your prior employment?
  • What do you want to be doing in 5 years?

The list goes on and depends on your specific  situation.

Athletes talk of being in “the zone”.  That means that they have practiced so much that there is no need to think.  Just react.

It is your job to be in the employment “zone”.

Why Are You Here?