“So, tell me about yourself.” This statement has been the source of a lot of stress and worry for countless job-seekers over the years. What is your potential employer looking for when they pose this question? Do they want to know specifics about your past work experience? Or, do they want to know about turning points and major events in your life?
If you can master your answer to “tell me about yourself,” you can set yourself up for success in the rest of the interview. However, if you squander this initial talking point, it may be hard to recover in the eyes of your interviewer.
First and foremost, always keep it professional. When an interviewer begins with “tell me about yourself,” how to respond often seems unclear. Moments ago you were probably exchanging small talk about the weather or your week. Because of this, you may be inclined to answer more casually. Don’t fall into this trap.
If a new friend asked this question, you would mention where you grew up, what your family was like, and your favorite memories. However, when an interviewer introduces this statement into the conversation, they are ready to segway into the interview.
Use this as an opportunity to describe why you are a perfect fit for the position. Take time as you prepare for the interview to make sure you can correctly respond to this statement. Summarize how you reached your current position, what you’ve learned and your key skills, and why past experiences have prepared you for this position.
It is important that you tailor your response to “tell me about yourself,” to the company in question. This will cement why you are a great fit for the role. While you may have past experiences in a different field, find ways to tie what you learned during that time to the position you’re pursuing. If you do have experience in a directly relevant field, make sure to highlight the strengths and skills that you possess.
If you have a lot of experience in your industry, it can be difficult to keep your answer short and sweet, focusing on your strengths. However, It is important to maintain a concise answer that allows the interviewer to glean important details from your response. You don’t want to over-explain with frivolous details and life stories that distract from the point that you want to make.
By keeping your answer prompt, relevant to the position you are applying to, and professional, you will easily glide through this conversation and move into the rest of the interview.