“So tell me a little bit about yourself”
When responding to this request, you should focus on both
your personal and professional values. Always be honest, but talk about your
best traits only. Especially those that relate to the position you are
applying. Highlight experiences and accomplishments you are most proud of.
This question (or a variation like “Walk me through your background”) comes up in just about every job interview and many job searchers hate it.
They hate it because they get frustrated trying to decipher exactly what the interviewer is looking for. However, if you prepare properly, there’s no reason to dread this question.
In fact, this question is an opportunity — an opening for you to set the tone of the job interview and emphasize the points that you most want this potential employer to know about you.
Don’t waste the opportunity by simply diving into a long recitation of your resume. This also isn’t the time to mention that you love flamenco dancing and bingo (yes, I have seen candidates ramble on about hobbies and personal preferences many times and it’s a surefire way to make a weak first impression).
Instead, try a concise, enthusiastic response that summarizes your big-picture fit for the job. This is also a good opportunity to share some information about your proudest achievements and goals.
Here is an example:
“I am an experienced communications specialist with extensive knowledge of public information tools and techniques. I have developed comprehensive communication plans for major public events, written dozen of articles accepted by worldwide publications, and created specialized educational programs for adults and students. I am always eager to learn new methods and procedures, and have implemented continuous improvement techniques in my past positions that saved money and increased productivity. I like working with people and enjoy group projects, but am also a self-starter who doesn’t mind working on my own. I am a volunteer with the local chapter of the Boys Scout and enjoy participating in the community events. My goals are to complete my Master’s Degree and broaden my experiences with community relations.”
Remember to tailor your response to the specific job. By studying the job, You will get a good idea of the skills and experience being sought. Work those into your response.
Consider this your open personal commercial. If the interview consisted of only this ONE chance to sell yourself, what would you say?
Note: This interviewer is not interested in your family challenges. Mention nothing personal or not related to the job.