FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- If you were fortunate enough to get into an elevator with a hiring official, could you successfully market yourself in the few seconds it takes for the ride up?

If not, you need to prepare a commercial about yourself so you can do just that.

Hiring officials are normally busy people with very little time to devote to interviewing people for jobs. They don't want to be bored with long-winded speeches about your life. They want to know quickly what you can do for their company's bottom line. Also, this will most likely be your first impression on the hiring official. Remember, first impressions are lasting impressions.

However, whether or not you are fortunate enough to get into an elevator with the hiring official, there are other times a 30-second commercial will come in handy for you in the job search process.

When you go for a job interview, many times the interviewer will begin by asking you to relax and tell him or her about yourself. Because you have done the necessary research on the company and have tailored your 30-second commercial to the company, you can use it here.

However, if you haven't done the research and don't have a commercial, you could reveal more personal information than what you intended.

For instance, it's not lawful for an employer to ask you certain questions, such as your marital status, number of children, etc., but given the opportunity to respond to the question, you may reveal that information voluntarily without even realizing it. If so, it could play a part in the interviewer not selecting you for the job.

Another time a 30-second commercial could benefit you is when you are networking. Networking is telling everyone you meet that you are looking for a job and asking them for their help in finding one.

Statistically speaking, this is the way most people find a job. A 30-second commercial is a succinct way to introduce yourself, and at the same time market your abilities and experience. Not everyone is an extrovert; therefore, an introduction to a new person can be awkward. But if you are armed with a 30-second commercial, you can use it effectively on everyone.

Job fairs or career expos are excellent places to use your 30-second commercial, as well. Remember, there will be many employers gathered in one location to speak with you. There will be long lines and usually a crowd.

You may have to wait for a while before it's your turn to speak with a recruiter, so listen to the people who go before you to see how they handle the introduction. Then, when it becomes your turn, walk right up, shake hands and begin your 30-second commercial. Hopefully, you've tailored your 30-second commercial for each company representative that you plan to speak with. If so, the company representative can't help but be impressed, but, if not, it could bomb for you.

For more information on how to construct a great 30-second commercial, transitioning Soldiers and their adult family members should contact the Fort Rucker SFL-TAP Center at 255-2558, to make an appointment with a counselor.