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  • Indrani Stangl, M.A., Career Coach

Tell me about yourself.


One of the most common questions in an interview is "Tell me about yourself." Amazingly this is also one of the questions people struggle with most. There is no excuse for any hesitation when answering this question. It is usually the first question asked, and it can make you or break you. Fortunately this should be the question most easily prepared for.

Why is it so hard to think of a good answer? Because we are raised not to put ourselves in the spotlight. Not to brag, not to be calling attention to ourselves. And in this instance, it is all about YOU.

You need to practice an elevator pitch, and you need to practice it with people who can give you feedback. It shouldn't sound overly rehearsed. Have a script but make it bullet points so you don't memorize paragraphs.

When someone says, "Tell me about yourself", hemming and hawing should not be included in the response. Yes, it is a vague and broad question, but do not respond with, "What would you like to know?" You should expect this question and you need to answer with confidence. This is the best way to kick off the interview in the right direction.

Too much personal information, even information that seems benign, can put all sorts of ideas in the interviewer's head. For example, if you mention you are newly married, the inteviewer may assume you will start having kids soon. If you mention you have kids, you may give the impression that you will take lots of time off for sick kids and school activities. These may not be fair judgments but unfortunately it is the way the world works.

So talk about yourself, but in terms of your skills and what you can do for them. If you avoid topics that may distract the interviewer and put doubts in their mind, your interview will continue smoothly. Contact us and together we can prepare the perfect answer to this common question together.

Your goal is to keep the conversation going in a positive manner, and if you prepare your answer for what will likely be the first question, you are getting off to a great start.

#interviewtips #CareerTips #Jobsearch #Elevatorpitch

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