“Tell me about yourself” – the dreaded job interview question which sounds very easy to the ears and is equally difficult to answer. While there are so many right ways to answer this interview question, there are numerous wrong ones too.
It is easy to think this question as something you can answer without even preparing for it. Afterall, you have known yourself for so many years. However, all those years of knowing yourself won’t count for much when you go for the job interview.
The right way to answer “Tell me about yourself”
Before we address the answer to this question, try to understand what the interviewer is trying to gain by asking you this. They surely are not interested in your personal life. What your husband does or the pets you own or the friends you have, these are not the concern of the interviewer.
By asking this question the interviewer want to know a) how you will approach the answer b) what you have achieved that makes you a great candidate.
Give a brief background
Give a brief (and we really mean a brief) background on what drew you to this field and what inspired and inspires you. Talk about your previous job (if any), talk about the internships you were a part of and what you learned from these experiences. Talk about your college projects and the societies you were part of, even if it was a photography or drama society.
Talk about specific achievements
When the interviewer asks you to “tell me about yourself”, he/she also gives you a chance to brag. So, use the opportunity and talk about your achievements and be very specific about them. You were part of the football team in your college and that is great, but talk about the number of goals you scored or saved or if you captained the team then how you did it. Indulge in specifics and you will have the attention of the recruiter.
Showoff your strengths
No, we are not talking about the brawny, muscular strength here. When you are looking for a job, your strengths can consist of many things, including that of being a team player. There are so many soft and core skills that an interviewer looks for in an ideal candidate and if you have those skills and strengths, then this might be a right chance to flaunt them. You cannot always include all your strengths on your job resume, so this is a chance for you to tell the interviewer things that make you unique and pitch you as an ideal candidate.
Talk about your goals
The position you are interviewing for cannot be the end of all your desires and aspirations for the future, can it? So, talk about the big goal you have and how this particular position can help you move closer to that goal. Spice the job interview up with some definitive answer about where you see yourself in the coming years.
The wrong way to answer “tell me about yourself”
There are several wrong ways to answer the famous “tell me about yourself”. However, for today we will stick to the top notes on how you should definitely not achieve this interview question.
Quoting your CV and resume
When the interviewer asks you talk about yourself, you don’t have to start rambling about everything you have written on your CV or resume. The interviewer must have and ideally should have already read your resume, so unless and until you have a really strong point that you would want to expand on, talk about things that have not been already presented.
Asking the interviewer what they would like to know
The interviewer has already told you that they would like you to talk about yourself. By asking the interviewer further on what they would like to know, you would lose their interest. So, skip the question this time and instead focus on formulating the right answer for this job interview question.
Yes, this is an opportunity for you to paint the best picture of yourself. However, that does not mean you should rant on and on for 10 minutes or more. And whatever you do, don’t be tempted to use filler words to try and make your answer more interesting that it is. Instead, take a deep breath and collect your thoughts and answer. Talk about the things that you think will be most relevant and will aid you nail the job.
So, make use of these interview tips and know how to answer and not answer the big “tell me about yourself” and get ready to impress the interviewer and take the job home.
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