Almost every interview includes the question "so, tell us about yourself". It seems an easy enough request, but it often becomes one of the most difficult to answer because we're never sure what to say or how to approach it.
Using what's called an "elevator pitch" is one way to respond. It's basically a way of "selling" your skills and experience to someone you don't know in a short period of time i.e during the course of a brief elevator ride.
There's no right or wrong way to structure an elevator pitch, but the key thing to remember is not to just recite your work history. This is an opportunity to provide the company with information on yourself that's maybe not in your CV or Resume and to bring in some key strengths that relate to the role. Here are some things to think about when creating yours.
Be persuasive with what you're saying and sound genuine. You want to convince the interviewers that what you're saying really is about you and not words from a script.
Look at the position description and highlight a few key words that you feel are important (responsibilities/skills/experience/company culture). Then think about how you can include what's relevant to you in your response.
Why should they pick you over other applicants? What can you incorporate into your response to demonstrate this? What makes you stand out? This is particularly important for graduates who don't necessarily have work experience to use for examples.
Highlight your strengths, competencies and goals in relation to the role you're applying for and how you can incorporate these into your pitch. For example: Instead of saying "I currently work at ABC company as an Accounts Payable Officer and I'm now looking for a more senior role" You could say "I really enjoy my current role at ABC company as it's given me the opportunity to learn and grow, plus I've recently been able to supervise some junior staff which I've really enjoyed and excelled at' ".
Include something about yourself that may be of interest such as why you came to NZ (if you're a migrant) or what brought you back (if you're a returning Kiwi)
Finally, practice, practice, practice and time yourself. The content of your pitch may vary slightly for each interview, but get to the stage where you're happy with how you'll start and where you'll finish. Try not to talk too quickly but most of all, just be you and let your personality come through. Your "pitch" may be the only time that the interviewers get to see a little bit of you!