Whether you’re meeting a hiring manager for the first time, attending a networking event, or reaching out to a potential contact on LinkedIn, you want to make a positive first impression. Understanding how to introduce yourself professionally is essential for projecting a positive image of yourself. Over the course of this guide, we’ll provide you with valuable insights and tips to help you put your best foot forward when introducing yourself to colleagues, recruiters, and hiring managers.
Provide Relevant Insights into Who You Are as a Professional
When making a first impression, you want to ensure the details you provide are professionally relevant to your audience. There may be a time and a place at a networking event to discuss sports, films, or extracurricular interests, but you don’t want to open with these topics. Instead, you should establish your profession and field while providing some background into your particular area of expertise.
Avoid Generic and Vague Details
When starting a conversation, you want to provide interesting details that can help to begin a dialogue with the person you’re speaking to. If you say that you work in finance or human resources without any additional context, there isn’t much the other person can add to create an engaging conversation. Instead, you should go further in providing unique insights into your professional background. For example, if you mention that you’re a teacher, you may want to say that you use a blend of innovative instructional techniques to drive emotional and academic growth for your students.
Understand Your Audience
While you want to highlight details that make you unique as a professional, you don’t want to alienate your audience by using industry jargon they may be unfamiliar with. For instance, if you were working in data science, perhaps you could describe your interest in the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning for self-driving cars. This is a topic that the person can delve into, even if they aren’t necessarily tech-savvy. It’s easy to feel awkward when starting a conversation with a new person but establishing an accessible conversation topic can help smooth the beginning of the dialogue.
Words to Describe Yourself Professionally
Finding the right words to describe yourself professionally can be especially challenging. You need to find the word that accurately conveys who you are and also sets the right tone. Certain terms could be taken the wrong way or perhaps make you come off as arrogant, which is a poor way to start a conversation. That said, it’s okay to have confidence in yourself and provide details that paint a clearer picture of who you are as a professional. Below, you’ll find a list of words you can use to describe yourself professionally:
- Forward Thinking
- Open Minded
- Thought Leader
How to Introduce Yourself Professionally In-Person
Introducing yourself in person can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, as these situations commonly cause anxiety, even for individuals who are outgoing socially. Body language plays a key role in making a positive first impression while introducing yourself. If you appear nervous and uncertain of yourself, this may set an awkward tone for the conversation. Below, you’ll find some tips and examples to help you grow your confidence when introducing yourself in an in-person setting:
Start with a Greeting
A warm and professional greeting is the best way to open a conversation. Start by offering to shake the person’s hand, saying hello, and telling them your name. Body language is key here, as you don’t want to appear tense or timid while introducing yourself. Stay relaxed as you greet the other person and be sure to make eye contact while speaking.
Keep Your Introduction Concise
Although you may have a lot to say, it’s important to keep your introduction short and to the point when starting a conversation, especially at a networking event. If you continue speaking too long, you’ll risk losing your audience’s attention or appearing self-absorbed. Rather, you should lead with a compelling introduction that includes your first and last name, profession, and a personal detail that is professionally relevant to the setting.
Humor Is Good, But Don’t Over Do it
Whether in a job interview or a networking event, humor can make a conversation lighter and more engaging for both parties. However, you also don’t want to risk making a bad joke that creates a negative impression on your audience. Even humor needs to be professional, and you’ll need to read the room to ensure that your subject matter is appropriate and relevant. In this situation, it might be appropriate to joke about an industry quirk or trend that the other party can relate to. If you’re an accountant, you might mention that you and your team had a relaxing week handling the month-end close. That said, while humor can be an asset, don’t feel pressured to force humor into a conversation if it doesn’t feel natural.
Refine Your Elevator Pitch
If you find yourself feeling nervous introducing yourself during a job interview or at a networking event, you may want to take some time to practice your elevator pitch. This can help to grow your confidence, as you won’t experience stress from having to create an introduction on the spot. If you choose to refine your opening ahead of time, use it as a guideline rather than a script while interfacing with others in person. You want your opening to feel organic and natural. If you practice too much, you run the risk of sounding like you’ve rehearsed.
How to Introduce Yourself Professionally on LinkedIn
Introducing yourself virtually over email or on LinkedIn is very different from having an in-person conversation. One of the benefits of interfacing with recruiters or other professionals virtually is that you’re afforded an opportunity to provide a more intricate description of yourself. When introducing yourself on LinkedIn, you’ll want to ensure that you’re crafting a strong opener that establishes who you are as a professional and your purpose for reaching out. Below, you’ll find tips and examples to help you introduce yourself on LinkedIn:
Send a Personalized Message with Your Connection Request
When reaching out to a recruiter or new contact on LinkedIn, you’ll want to send a personalized message explaining who you are and why you want to connect with the person. Even though LinkedIn is a highly professional networking platform, spam messages and sales inquiries still occur on a regular basis, so you’ll want to clarify why you’re reaching out as quickly as possible. Avoid using a generic greeting, as your inquiry will likely be ignored if it doesn’t feel personally written.
Establish a Connection or Shared Contact
If you share a connection with the person you’re contacting, you should mention your referral in the opening sentence of your message. You could also note that you’re both members of a LinkedIn networking group. In a situation where you’re sending an inquiry without a shared contact, you should instead focus on establishing a connection through your industry. For example, you might mention that as a fellow UX designer, you’re interested in networking with like-minded professionals within your field.
How to Introduce Yourself on LinkedIn Example #1
Hello Cynthia Roberts,
My name is Allison Rosenberg, and I wanted to reach out to add you to my professional network. As a fellow member of the Project Manager LinkedIn Group, I’ve been impressed with many of the insights that you’ve shared in your posts. I’m always looking to grow my knowledge of Agile implementation and it would be great to learn more about your thoughts and experiences on the topic. Thanks for your time, and I hope to stay in touch for future networking opportunities!
How to Introduce Yourself on LinkedIn Example #2
Greetings Tyrone Jackson,
My name is John Bergsen, and I’m a fellow professional within the non-profit space. I recently came across your organization on LinkedIn and wanted to inquire about the Outreach Coordinator position you listed. Your organization’s mission to expand access to career services and mental health counseling for veterans is a cause that strongly resonates with me. I have an extensive background in leading healthcare services community outreach efforts, and I believe I can provide some valuable insights to support your efforts. I hope to speak with you more about your organization and the Outreach Coordinator role. Thank you for your time and consideration.
How to Introduce Yourself on LinkedIn Example #3
Hello Akira Tanaka,
My name is Raheem Richardson, and I wanted to reach out to add you to my LinkedIn network. I recently came across one of your articles on deep learning for autonomous vehicles and was highly impressed by your research. As a fellow professional within the data science field, I enjoy connecting with thought leaders who share my passion for machine learning. I’d like to stay in touch for potential opportunities to collaborate in the future. Thank you for your time.