I hate this question! Anyone have advice on keeping this short, fun, and successfu?
This is more or less what I've settled into as a rough script when asked this question in interviews.
"We begin with my time in retail sales management, as AGM for Teavana. By the time they offered me my own store, I knew I didn’t want to be in retail for the next part of my journey, so I stepped down and finished my degree in Holistic Psychology.
My internship at a 501c3 nonprofit called Strongwater Therapeutic Equestrian Center, was all about connecting people with different abilities with horses. They hired me to be their Volunteer Coordinator before I graduated! By the time I left, our new Director had tripled our program size, and I’d grown our volunteer pool to match, from about 35 burned-out but dedicated folks to over 300, and I was organizing and scheduling about 90 volunteers weekly.
Now keep in mind, this is nonprofit we’re talking about, so I was doing full time work for part time pay and holding up to three other jobs at the same time to sustain myself. Eventually, that needed to be just one job.
So I pulled out my toolbox from retail management, volunteer coordination, effective people strategies, events, etc. and realized I had all the right tools to support me in Office Management. I focused my efforts there, and began a six-year journey in managing operations, vendors, facilities, staff, internal communications, etc. for primarily SaaS-based startups sized 30-225, on both coasts of the US.
That brings us to 2020 and the Pandemic initially settling in on the West Coast, when I was laid off from my most recent office management role, managing all aspects of our 48ksqft downtown SF headquarters. I felt very strongly that I needed to find a way to do social good, so I co-founded my first LLC, Tell Me More Gifts in June 2020 and were able to begin paying artists by Fall 2020. We built TMMG to be a small business, and we continue to run it on the side as a hobby.
When it was time for me to take my toolbox out again in 2021 and give it a good shaking, I had a lot more puzzle pieces to work with. I took my time figuring out what pictures I could make out of all these new parts, initially considering returning to ops management remotely or generalist roles.
The strengths I want to focus on next are my passion for collecting data, feedback, and insights and converting them into stories that are easily understood, while collaborating cross-functionally and building diverse relationships...Ideally while also developing/innovating curriculum to support the growth and education of all.
That all leads me directly to Customer Success, which is why we’re here today!"
This is the bit I came up with from Peppercorn exercises, and what I currently have on my LI:
"I enjoy pursuing as many hobbies as is manageable at one time, plus an extra for fun. Current favorites include cooking, social partner dances such as West Coast Swing, writing, photography, and extremely novice bird watching. I also actively pursue speaking engagements such as panels and podcasts focusing on DEIBAA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, Accessibility, Allyship), sharing my lived and learned experiences while advocating for universal Accessibility."
It goes into some glossy detail of my never-ending list of hobbies and interests while, I believe, portraying some of my personality at the same time. I also wanted to surface some extra-curricular activities that support my areas of expertise.
Excited to hear what others have come up with, too!
You're so right, Jodi! This is a killer question. If you haven't practised the answer, it is easy to ramble on and on... I had a coach school me on answering this question, and below is the answer I wrote down. It's a bit long, so I usually didn't give it verbatim, but kept it brief.
Write down your own version, and focus on the value you bring to the company you're interviewing with. State your strengths, then how you would apply them in the new job.
"After working in Corporate Strategy for 10 years, and consistently being a top performer, I can honestly say that I have found my life’s work. I love solving problems and thinking strategically, considering all angles. I love uncovering the value proposition for the customer, and understanding their needs. I have both a technical strength and a business background, so am comfortable working across the company. At each of the last three companies I’ve worked, I’ve built a Corporate Strategy function from scratch and had a reputation for being a great collaborator and team player. I’ve built trusting relationships with executives at all levels, created businesses and driven valuable initiatives for future growth. When you hire me, from Day One, I will deliver value, constantly strive to make those around me better and find new avenues of profitable growth for [Company X]. I am excited to do just that, and can’t wait to start."