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Center for Career Development

30-Second Commercial

What is it?

One of the keys to successful interviewing and networking is to make a really strong first impression. One of the first opportunities to make this impression is often in response to the question “Tell me about yourself.” The answer is your personal “commercial.” It is essentially an overview of your experience, skills, strengths, accomplishments and goals – all in 30 seconds!


When will I use it?

You will use your 30 second commercial throughout your professional life. Some relevant uses include:

  • At an interview
  • In a cover letter –to highlight your background and key abilities
  • At professional networking events – when you are asked to introduce yourself
  • In cold calling employers for an internship or future job
  • When introducing yourself to a potential employer at a career fair
What should I include in my 30 second commercial?

The structure of a 30 second commercial generally follows this pattern:

  1. Introduce yourself, when appropriate
  2. Discuss your As a student this would include your major field of study, any related work/internship experience and/or related coursework/research
  3. State a strength or special skill relevant to the position and/or organization
  4. Follow that with an accomplishment (or two) that proves you have that It can be related to school, work, a volunteer experience, participation in a student organization (like SGA), etc.
  5. Describe your employment What are you looking for now and/or in the future?
  6. Most importantly, tell how you can immediately benefit the company
What should I keep in mind about developing my 30 second commercial?

Practice, practice, practice. Your 30 second commercial should be conversational and natural. Although prepared in advance, it should never sound memorized. You want to appear confident, enthusiastic, poised and professional.

Make it memorable but not outrageous. You are competing with many other qualified candidates. Your commercial should allow you to stand out a bit from the crowd. Whether it is the vocabulary you choose or a specific achievement you mention, you want to engage the listener and give them an opportunity to see your personality.

Be prepared for follow-up questions, especially if this is an interview. You may be asked for more information or to elaborate on something you said which will keep the conversation going. Part of your strategy is to develop a rapport with the interviewer and a good commercial and follow-up will help to set a positive tone.

Vary your closing to fit the circumstances. For an interview, focusing on how you can benefit the company or how you fit the particular position is appropriate. At a networking event or Career Fair you want to be proactive and may want to consider an action question – “May I send you my resume?” or “May I have your business card and contact you …”

Key Items for Inclusion:

  • Number of years of experience or uniqueness of your experience/program
  • The kind of experience such as: engineering, marketing, leadership, etc…
  • Key skills and tasks such as strategic planning, business generation and people development
  • Personality traits and characteristics that make you unique
  • Use the jargon of the industry
  • What is the most important thing you want them to know about you?

Questions to Think about in Developing your 30 Second Commercial

  • What are your career goals?
  • What skills, strengths, or experiences do you have that support your career goals?
  • Why types of opportunities are you seeking?
  • What skills can you bring to the organization?
  • How can you immediately benefit the company?

Starting your 30 Second Commercial

Hello, my name is     ___  I am a student at Morgan State University majoring in     ___  .

I am mainly interested in     ___   and was attracted to your company/organization because      ___  .

[STRENGTHS] My strengths include     ___   and    ___  .

[BRIEF EXAMPLE] During my internship with     ___  , I was able to    ___  .

[GOAL] I am looking for a position where I     ___  .

[HOW] I can be an immediate benefit to your company because    ___  .

Sample Statements

  • I have a solid background in…
  • I am particularly good at…
  • My strongest skills are…
  • I have __ years of experience.
  • I have a good working knowledge of...
  • I am proficient in…
  • I have been trained in…
  • My experience includes…
  • I have a talent for…
  • I have exposure to…
  • My abilities include…
  • I am passionate about…
  • I am interested in…
  • I would like the opportunity to…
  • The program at MSU is unique because…

Skills Traits Accomplishments
Analyze Budget Assertive Conscientious Built Coordinated
Communicate Create Decisive Detail-oriented Developed Implemented
Facilitate Lead Enthusiastic Honest Improved Managed
Manage Motivate Independent Innovative Marketed Organized
Negotiate Plan Loyal Perceptive Promoted Reduced
Supervise Resourceful Team player Resolved Trained