Are you ready to respond to what could be for some the hardest question to answer in an interview situation? “Please, tell me about yourself.”
The intention of the questions is for the interviewers to learn a brief summary of the background and qualifications of the candidate. Your answer should focus on addressing three questions according to Mandy Nyez from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin:
1. Who are you and where are you now? Talk about your education, degrees you have or are pursuing, and any specialty areas you would like to highlight.
Currently I am a senior at Acme University and intend to get my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications in December. I have focused on public relations as a concentration area.
2. Where have you been? Career-related experiences are important to highlight in your answer. Focus on relevant and transferable skills to the position. If your volunteer and leadership positions are relevant, you can also talk about highlights here as well.
For the pas two summers I have been an intern with ABC Marketing Services in the PR department. The internships allowed me to hone my copy writing and public speaking skills. I created press releases and served as a spokeswoman for two client accounts.
3. Where are you going? Finally, you want to focus on your career objectives and goals related to the position.
My hope is to utilize my educational background, experience in the field with clients, and my energy and enthusiasm as the PR Coordinator at First Avenue Advertising. Eventually I would like to earn my way up to the Public Relations Director.
Be careful about coming across as “canned” or too rehearsed. Avoid sharing personal information such as your age, number of siblings, or hobbies. Your future employer wants to see you are a good fit with the position and their company or organization. Keep it career-related so they can better understand what you “bring to the table.”
Keep your total answer concise as follow-up questions will allow you to fill in more details later. Outline your summary and practice several versions. After some intentional work, you will be able to confidently share who and what you are about at job fairs, informal networking opportunities, and in the job interview itself.