Tell Me About Yourself
Do you dread those interviews that start, "So tell me about yourself"? I used to hate those as well and
apparently we are not alone.
Most individuals answer that question by giving a biography of where they were born, where they have worked and the types of jobs they have had. Maybe they throw in the job titles they have held in their professional
Writer Jessica Hagy writing in a recent issue of Forbes magazine makes that very point. She says we tend to talk ad lib about what we do, where we live and went to school. However, most of us avoid talking about our journeys, core character traits, and victories; far more interesting and informative facts. We would sound "more interesting and human if we talked about ourselves like corporations do," says Hagy. "We have stories to tell."
Another mistake is to talk about what we are not, instead of what we are, or what we have accomplished.
The "tell me about yourself" question might be boring and inartful but the questioner wants to get some information about you to answer the ultimate selfish question, "Will this person be an asset to me and my
organization?" Very little else matters and might even work against you.
The best way to be prepared for that question is to actually deliberately prepare ahead of time. Use one paragraph max to summarize where you worked, your certification, your titles, jobs, where you live and so on. Then based on the nature of the job, tell stories about your achievements, point out your transferable skills (that will make you suitable for the job in question. Make connections and emphasize highlights that might not be apparent from reading your resume.
This tactic takes some getting used to. But it makes you appear more multidimensional, interesting and even accomplished. Besides since no two stories are identical, it makes you stand out from the pack.