Finding a Job

What do you say when your interviewer says ‘Tell Me About Yourself’?

So you finally have been invited in for an interview. You’ve done all your preparation research and have the perfect outfit picked out. But are you ready for that first curve ball?

“So, tell me about yourself.”

If you’re not ready for it you could be a deer staring down the headlights of an eighteen wheeler.

Fortunately if you have a plan, this question can be easily answered. Remember practice makes perfect so get in front of the mirror.

1. Be confident - This first question will allow the interviewer to test out whether you’re confident or not”. Turn your nervousness into enthusiasm and smile. If you are jittery make sure that you gently hold your hands or place them on the arms of the chair or on your legs. By doing this, you won’t be wringing your hands, shaking or excessively moving your hands around.

Now it’s time to go to your resume!!

2. Start with your credentials - explain your qualifications, what you studied, where you went to college and the career fields that you have worked in give them a story. Be prepared to start from the early days and work forward or begin with your most recent decisions and work backwards to prior points. This will allow you to adapt depending on the discussion. Once again feel confident to tell your story and know that the choices that you may have made to have a family are positives in terms of your drive and commitment.

Passion is a quality employers look for because it’s an indicator that you’ll be dedicated to the work you will be doing. Talking about the inspiration for choosing your path up until now and why you want to have a job in this field is one way to convey passion. For example, tell the interviewer about a class you took that was inspiring or a life event that caused you to go down this path.

Tell a story that gives the interviewer a reason to keep listening, giving him or her insight into why you would be a passionate and enthusiastic employee. Stories are powerful and are what people remember most.

3. Tell them about your impactful experiences – but stay focused on selling yourself for the possition

You then need to transition to telling the interviewer about the most influential experiences you have had. Give them a short synopsis of an influential experience, previous jobs, organizations you’re involved in, volunteer opportunities or anything else that has been influential. But make sure that it is relevant to the job at hand, no interviewer wants to hear how special your kids are or how much you love being at home - this part of your response will give the interviewer a quick overview of the experience you can bring to the job.

4. Tell the interviewer how your experiences will help you in this job - The most important part of your response is the ending, or the hook. You need to tell them why your experiences make you the best candidate for this position, so make sure that you are tying all of your experiences and your inspiration together to make you look like you’re an enthusiastic candidate who has the experience to back it up.

Try an ending phrase like, “I am specifically interested in this position because it would offer the opportunity to utilize my _______ skills and grow in the area of _____. I feel drawn to the work you do here based on past experience and future goals.”

5. Remember to keep it short - The employer wants to know a little bit about you to begin with — not your life story. Offer up two or three pieces of information that are both interesting and useful. To make sure your response is succinct and covers what you want it to cover, write your answer out before the interview, practice it, time it and rehearse it until it sounds natural. Then practice it some more. The goal is to tell the employer enough to pique their interest, not so much that they wonder if they’d ever be able to shut you up during a coffee break at the office.

The key to a successful interview is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. In essence, you want to be selling what the buyer is buying,

Have a friend ask you this question so you can practice your response and increase your confidence. Like it or not, this question will always come up in an interview, usually right away. Use these tips to craft your answer and ensure you stand out from the group of interviewees.

Good luck interviewing!


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