‘So tell me about yourself…’ this simple question often strikes fear in the hearts of job seekers. What is the ‘right’ response to this question and what are employers really looking for when they ask it?
Employers often use this question as an opener for an interview. They do so in order to gain a good sense of, not only who you are but also how prepared you are for the interview.
Answering this question is not about delivering a rambling life story or full employment history. Great answers to this question will enable you to tell employer why you are right for the position on offer and establish, from the beginning, a positive tone to the interview that is focused on your strengths and abilities. Therefore, it is really important that you prepare for this question before you attend your interview and have considered what aspects of your experience and skills you would like to showcase.
One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to develop a ‘30 second verbal CV’.
A 30 second verbal CV is excellent way to quickly establish and create a great impression with a prospective employer. It is a pre-planned, short introduction that outlines your employability such as; your strengths and talents and your career objective. It’s aim is to promote you ( almost like a brand) and quickly help your prospective employer gain a good understanding of your professionalism and ability to articulate your practice.
Like your written CV, you will design your 30 second verbal CV with the employer in mind.Consider what aspects of your current practice matches the job on offer; focus on what would interest the employer most and build an approach that will enable you to highlight skills and accomplishments. Remember that the employer is not looking for a long history,overview of your personal interests or details such as where you were born,they are aiming to gain a sense of how you might fit into their organisation and whether you can do the job on offer.
Keep your 30 second verbal CV concise. But don’ forget to back up your skills with good examples. Examples can really help you stand out from the crowd and make you more memorable. The STAR technique ( Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a useful interview technique that will help you structure examples that are focused on demonstrating positive outcomes.
Always practice your 30 second verbal CV- this will help you to deliver a confident opening statement which is professional, targeted, positive in its tone and believable. It will also help you to structure a concise response that isn’t too long- remember is called a ’30 second verbal CV’…
Once you have established your 30 second verbal CV you will find that you will be able to easily adapt it to various different interview situations, environments and opportunities. For example, having a great 30 second verbal CV,can really support you in networking situations as it is a great tool for introducing yourself and quickly establishing a positive rapport with new contacts.
So even if you are not going for an interview soon, why not develop a 30 second verbal CV as part of your professional practice.
Find out more about how to answer the ‘tell me about yourself question’:
- The ladders: http://www.theladders.com/career-advice/10-good-ways-to-tell-me-about-yourself
- Job Search http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewquestionsanswers/qt/yourself.htm
- Monster: http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview/interview-questions/intreview-tell-me-about-yourself/article.aspx
- STAR technique: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situation,_Task,_Action,_Result