If I may paraphrase a line from the somewhat forgettable movie “My Cousin Vinny,” this is no time to blend. (With Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci)
The essence of a job search is identifying and communicating that which is unique about you to the rest of the world.
It is of course normal for human beings to want to communicate “I am just like you and therefore we should be friends.” It is a reflex action to try to find areas of common interest with those you meet. (Oh, you’re from Chicago? I stopped there once.)
Just about anything and everything that will provide a “warm fuzzy” should be tried.
That said, the time when this is inappropriate is our classic 90-second announcement. Although in the course of a one hour conversation over dinner or drinks we can go into depth and explore what may be the basis of an enduring friendship, 90-seconds just isn’t much time.
During this “trial by fire” crushing time period, only the absolutely essential can be developed and presented.
What is it exactly that makes you unique? What have you done in your life that will provide a “handle” or way of thinking about you that I will actually remember?
One of our banking members used the fact that he had done hostage negotiations to create a strong impression. Hard to forget “good old what’s his name.” (Actually, I do remember his name.)
We are all accountants or financial folks. We all do financial analysis. We all graduated with business degrees. And, we ALL have had unusual and interesting work experiences that we can incorporate in our limited pitch time to create a lasting impression.
Although I lean towards humor, you will have to find something with which you are comfortable.
However, without distinct points of difference, you will blend into the background just like the “man in the grey flannel suit.”
We all get the feeling you are special. Take the time to figure out why you are and be sure to tell us in melodramatic fashion. That is what works best.