August 4, 2018 @ 10:37 AM

When an employer says, “Tell me about yourself,” he or she wants to know facts, even evidence, to ensure you’re the right candidate for the job.  Lots of questions fill an employer’s mind:   Does this candidate have the qualifications required?  Is their experience relevant?  Is there proof of effectiveness?  With that one request, “Tell me about yourself,” and the response in the form of a well-crafted 30-second commercial, many of an employer’s questions can be answered. 

What happens, though, when the response includes unnecessary or undesirable information or leaves an employer without valuable information needed to consider you a serious candidate?  Even worse, what if the information provided gives an employer reasons not to hire you? Here are four topics you should always avoid when crafting a 30-second commercial. 


1.         Personal History

Exclude information about your family, religion and age, including relevant anecdotes.  It’s illegal for employers to ask for this type of information in an interview, so why volunteer it?  Only share job-related information such as experience, education and accomplishments.

2.         Negative Experiences

If you’re tempted to say negative comments about a former employer or share your unfavorable job history, don’t.  Such admissions will not be received well, even if the potential employer shows no reaction.  Many employers believe that past performance is a predictor of future performance.   Focus, instead, on positive examples and stories you can share to showcase your talent.  Show an employer that you’re a good match for the company.

3.         Salary and Benefits

Realistically, you know that you need a job to earn money.   Companies, however, are less concerned about your need to survive and more committed to increasing their own value and profits.  With that said, don’t mention a desired salary or benefits in a 30-second commercial.  You’ll have plenty of time for this when they offer you the job.

4.         Unclear Focus or Value Statement

Back in the day, candidates were encouraged to include an objective statement on a résumé.  This statement was usually vague and added little value to the document.  Today’s well-written profile or summary statement can actually be used as a 30-second commercial.  Why?  Because it highlights key skills and the benefits you can provide an employer.  Remember, without a clear, goal-oriented 30-second commercial, an employer may not be able to envision you with their company.


A 30-second commercial is designed to be a powerful, value-packed statement that will engage, intrigue and excite a potential employer.  After they hear it, their next statement should be, “Tell me more.”   You’re commercial should cover your professional experience, accomplishments, and how you can benefit the company.  Keep in mind that one 30-second commercial won’t work for all occasions or audiences.  Create one, then be prepared to change it depending on the audience, type of position, company and your goals. The key to a great 30-second commercial is knowing how to sell your skills, experience, education and talent.  If you can do all of this in 30-seconds, you will be much closer to snagging that dream job.