a little about yourself

“Tell me a little about yourself.”

It’s a standard interview request. An open invitation to dominate the conversation for at least one minute – give or take 15 seconds. You’ve got a potential employer’s undivided attention. A chance to call attention to the greatness that is YOU.

Do yourself a favor. Take the time to develop a stellar answer to this question.

Here are a few tips:

DON’T waste your 60 seconds relating a detailed accounting of your life:
“I was born in . . . . .” (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

DON’T insult the interviewer by providing a chronological listing of your previous employers and job responsibilities (Can the interviewer read your work history on your resume?):
“At my first job, I . . . . .”

DO highlight your professional accomplishments (and personal accomplishments, if appropriate):
What makes you the right person for the job? What makes you so different from the last person who sat in that chair? If you have trouble with this, ask friends, relatives, co-workers. Sometimes their objective view is clearer than our subjective view.

DO call attention to your strengths:
If you don’t know your strengths, spend some serious time discovering them. You can’t articulate them in a powerful way if you don’t even know what they are.

DO sum up by relating your short and/or long term ambitions.
When asked by a potential employer, “What do you see yourself doing five years from now?” I answered, “Your job.” They were startled until I followed up with, “I’m assuming you will have been promoted by then.” I got the job.

Finally, if you’ve already worked out a response and it’s been a while, consider revising it. You’ve changed. Your answer, if given any thought, may be different than it was the last time you verbalized it.

This is your big moment! Take it! No rambling! Have something definitive to say – and say it with confidence.

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