Recently I asked Jonathan Burston, Job Interview Coach at www.Interviewexpertacademy.com, what advice he would give to job seekers who are being asked the question Tell me about yourself during an interview.
Tell me about yourself!
This is the advice he would like to share with my audience.
The question “Tell me about yourself” is one of the most popular interview questions and one of the most feared as well. But it doesn’t need to be. Here’s why.
‘Tell me about yourself’ is what sales people would call your ‘Elevator Pitch’. It’s that moment in the elevator with someone you don’t know, who turns to you and says, ‘So what do you do?’
This is your moment to tell them in a few short sentences about yourself – what you do and have done and how you can make a difference.
So how do you go about creating your elevator pitch? This is the structure that I recommend candidates use.
- BACKGROUND – in one sentence create a statement of your career history. This is a top line summary of the types of role, companies and sectors that you’ve worked in.
‘Over the last 5 years I’ve worked in sales and marketing roles. I help organisations develop their businesses.’
If you’re a recent graduate and lack work experience, include other experience that is relevant.
‘I am a Science graduate and have worked in office roles helping the organization develop a new product. I have also undertaken charity work to help others.’
This sentence provides the interviewer with a sense of who the person sitting across from them is.
- STRENGTHS – know your strengths.
- What are you good at?
- What do people turn to you for?
- Make a list of them.
- Choose the top 3 that are most relevant and appropriate for this role. For example, excellent communicator, fast learner, positivity, resilient, pragmatic etc.
‘I am a good communicator, have a positive attitude and am a fast learner.’
- ACHIEVEMENTS – what’s your biggest achievement(s) in your career or experience to date? For example:
‘I went travelling for a year to learn more about myself and other cultures’
‘I led a [enter name] project from start to finish that is contribute [enter contribution] to an organization.’
‘I have exceeded my sales targets every year by ‘x’%.’
‘I set myself the challenge of running a marathon, when I’ve never run before.’
- FUTURE – think about what you’re looking for in your next role. Is it career development? Is it the company culture? Is it the sector that the company operates in, types of clients and products and services it provides etc?
‘I am looking to develop my sales skills and a career in a blue chip organization’.
- THE PITCH – put all the elements together. Read it aloud. How does it sound? It has to keep the interviewer interested and intrigued to learn more about you. If not, make changes.
- PRACTICE & TIME – is it clear and concise? A good Elevator Pitch is usually between 2 and 3 minutes long. Enough to give them some detail about you and to interest them. But not long enough to bore them. How long is yours? Shorten it, if you need to.
Finally learn and practice it time and again.
It’s important to put this all together in advance and have your script prepared when the interviewer asks, ‘Tell me about yourself’. Doing this will ensure that a candidate will never have to fear this question again.
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Author: Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a trilingual Career Optimizer at www.Careerheads.com. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Her passion lies in creating multilingual, high-quality content in career matters, giving highly engaging public speeches and helping job seekers to optimize their career by providing professional coaching. She is the author of several ebooks, among them “44 Tips for a successful Video Interview” (http://careerheads.com/product/ebook-44-tips-for-a-successful-video-interview/). She has written several career and business articles for international HR and Marketing companies. Her favourite motto is “Learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime!” Follow her on Twitter @CareerHeads.