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Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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5.1 Your personal profile

When someone meets you for the first time in a work context, they are likely to have three questions in the back of their mind:

  • Who are you?
  • What can you do for me?
  • Why should I trust you?

Who you are is more than just your name. You might be Joe the merchant seaman, or Sophie, mother of three and part-time artist, or Steve the qualified electrician and amateur footballer. How would you identify yourself?

What you can do for the person is a reasonable question for them to ask if you want them to give you work. Steve might be self-employed and looking for a new client project. So, he might say he is a self-employed electrician with lots of experience of shop refits, so if the person knows of any work in that area, he would be very interested.

Why should I trust you might sound an odd question but if someone is going to offer you work or recommend you to someone, then they need at least to be able to trust that you can do what you say you can do. Staying with our example of Steve, he might add to his statement that he can produce customer references, or say that his customers tend to compliment him on his reliability. In other words, he will use evidence to demonstrate his skills.

Activity 4 Your final personal statement

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Now try to redraft your own statement using the three questions as prompts.

  • Who are you?
  • What can you do for me?
  • Why should I trust you?

Keep a record in your notebook.


You may still feel that it is not quite right, don’t worry too much about getting it right on the page. The important thing is that it sounds natural. So, try saying it out loud, and test it on a good friend. That way you can keep refining it.

The real benefit of the statement is that you can use it either as an opening statement in an interview or with people you are just meeting speculatively.

What about questions you’ll be asked? You will need to anticipate what might be asked, and to plan how you might reply. The next section provides information on types of question you might face and the strategies for answering them well.