When interviewing for jobs, more and more people are being asked to “put together some slides about them” to present to an interview panel. I recently helped two colleagues of mine with this task so I thought I’d give you some tips about how to handle this situation.
First, you need to be clear on the following:
a) How much time will you have to present? This will determine how many slides to prepare.
b) Who is in the interview panel? This will determine what to put on your slides so it’s interesting to them.
c) What is the one thing you want them to remember about you? When you finish your slides, ask yourself this question and ensure it can be answered with the story and slides you prepared.
First, have a great title slide. This is what you show up on the screen while everyone is taking their seats. It’s a great opportunity to stand out before you even start talking. Most people will go with something like this:
Instead think about having a more interesting and visually appealing slide like this:
Then, you need a 30-second grabber. It can be a quote, a personal story, a slide with an interesting picture or a combination of these. The point is, don’t start by saying “well, hmm… my name is John and I thank you for your time today, and wanted to, you know, show you some slides about me.” Nope. Remember, you want to stand out, be the one they choose. There’s research that shows that people make an impression of you within the first 10 seconds so how you start is extremely important.
One of my friends quickly introduced herself, thanked everyone for the opportunity to interview and immediately moved to show this slide:
She told the story that she is a big traveler and while being in Peru snapped this picture which she particularly loved because it’s analogous to the type of career she’s had. “Sometimes you want to think that your career will be linear, always a step forward” she said. “But I’ve found lots of sharp turns. I still have runway for continuing to explore new areas of business and stretching myself. Let me get into specifics.”
Next, have a slide to talk about your journey. Where have you worked, what positions have you had. What’s important here is that you tailor this to what they are looking for. If the role you are applying for is in marketing then it’s ok to talk about your previous Finance role as long as you make the connection as to how your experience in Finance will be helpful for the Marketing role. And don’t stop in your last role. Add what you see as next areas of interest and your ultimate dream job so they can see how the job you are applying for fits with your career plan. Use an engaging visual representation instead of bullet point like most people. See the difference:
Next slide – get personal. Talk about the specific technical and leadership skills that describe you. Be specific about the traits that distinguish you. I had one of my friends ask her colleagues this question “how would you describe me in one word?” Then she created a “word cloud”.
In a word cloud, bigger font represents that such word came up more often than others. Here’s a slide showing how you could put all of this together:
Finally, have a short but strong close. My friend had a slide with her picture and then an animation of her current title fading and the new one (the one she was applying for) showing up by using animation. Or, following our prior example you could strike through the words “candidate for” and leave the title of the position you are applying for making a strong statement that you have the experience and the skills required to successfully execute in the new position.
So there you have, a short slide deck to impress your interview panel and get the job you want. Four slides should be enough to have a 10 minute presentation that generates some good discussion and questions.
I’m making these slides available for you to download so you can customize them and be ready for your next interview. Download here.
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