"Tell me about yourself." What a loaded request! How do you respond? How much do you say? Should you take advice from The Sound of Music and "start at the very beginning?" I hear that's a very good place to start, but is too much? This request, "Tell me about yourself" shows up on just about every list of 'most commonly asked interview questions'. That means if you don't know how to respond, you might bomb your next job interview.
Experts say that your response to this interview question should take about a minute.
Yikes, that's not a lot of time to work with. Your one-minute response needs to be interesting, concise, and informative. This is your chance to tell a story about the experiences you've had and the skills you've developed which make you perfect for the job. And no, you should not start at the very beginning.
One of the first steps in telling a good story is knowing your audience. What should the interviewer know about you? What skills does the position require? Carole Martin from Monster.com suggests focusing your response on previous employment and current strengths/abilities, then relating those experiences to the job you're seeking. Her article gives a great example of using this strategy to turn a poor response into something memorable. If you don't have previous work experience to draw from, think of a personal experience that showcases the attributes you want to convey. Does the job you're applying for require excellent organization skills? Tell about an event you recently organized and its success. Just make sure any personal information you share directly relates to the job in question.
Preparing a strong response to this interview question can be tricky. However, if you've created a Foliotek ID Page with Projects, you might be further ahead than you think. If you haven't, you'll want to get started right away. Your ID Page should include a solid introduction (if it doesn't, read this previous post and jazz up your introduction ASAP ... no, really ... like right now). The Projects included in your ID Page should highlight previous experiences and showcase your abilities. In order to create your ID Page and Projects, you've already thought about the valuable skills you have and the virtual first impression you want to provide. You're well on your way to developing the perfect response. Now you just have to put a few words together to sum it all up in one minute.