(Breath in…Breath out) You are about to start an interview, and they ask you the notorious question: Can you tell me a little about yourself? A loaded question phrased in only a few words. Thinking about this question might sometimes leave you wondering where to even begin. This question is usually the first one asked in interviews. That is why practicing before the interview is critical. Practice makes it close to perfect and will help when you mess up while doing a mock interview. Also, not knowing how to answer this question is normal, but here I am to tell you these seven tips that will help you stand out and land the job.
- This isn’t about your life history. Avoid talking about:
- Personal details
- Your first jobs
- Your pets
It’s okay to mention a hobby, but you should…
- Be a storyteller. Tell stories from your past work experiences that prove you’re passionate about the job and are prepared for this organization’s job opening. You can win by…
- Sharing your passions! This will paint a detailed picture of who you are and what drives you as a person. You’ll leave a lasting impression by talking about your natural passions and how this opportunity will bring you fulfillment.
- Don’t recap your resume. Too often, people answer this question by rehashing their resumes. This is a waste of time and provides no value to the interviewer. Think of the resume as your table of contents; the answer to this question should expand on your story.
- Highlight a couple of significant accomplishments. Were you promoted? That’s always a great sign and worth mentioning. Did you accomplish something important, like solving a big problem for your last employer? That’s great to note, too.
- Avoid negativity. Negative people are cancerous, and hiring managers avoid them at all costs. Don’t talk poorly about your past: Managers, positions, or coworkers. Speak as positively as you can about yourself and past experiences.
- Keep it concise. You’re answering an interview question, not delivering a dissertation on your life. Keep the answer for this one for around 30 seconds. It is often referred to as the “30-second commercial” or your “elevator speech”; telling them enough details to understand you but not putting them to sleep.
Nerves are okay! It means you care about how it will go. The biggest tip I can share is to don’t forget to be yourself! I promise you that if you sound like you’re reading off a script or sound too rehearsed, it won’t be as authentic as you deliver it by being open and honest. Once you nail this question, the rest will run smoothly. Use these tips to start things off tremendously and set up an unforgettable interview. Good luck!
For more information, please reference our Job Search Tips.
Anastacia Tristan is a College Navigator for the Workforce Solutions Regional Team. She is community oriented and has a passion for bridging the gap between resources and individuals experiencing adversities. Anastacia is fluent in English and Spanish, and is a native Houstonian. She graduated with a degree in Political Science from Sweet Briar College.