“Can you tell me about yourself?”
For a while I thought this job interview question was an open invitation to give employers as much information about me as possible. Not the case, as I discovered after numerous blank stares and "We'll call you" responses. I changed my approach and started getting better results.
Generally speaking, you want to focus on three things:
- Job skills--what work skills you have gained
- Work experience--what work experience you have
- Time--how long you have been using your job skills
Most job interviews start with the question, "Can you tell me about yourself?" But how you answer this question is just as important as your answer. Here are three tips for how to answer this question and leave your employers wanting more.
- Be concise: I've made the mistake of yammering away about all my work experience and caught my interviewer's eyes glazing over as I talked. Employers want the movie trailer version of your resume, not the whole feature film. Keep it short and sweet. Pick the three most important things you would like to communicate about yourself and your work experience. If you do it right, the employers will be intrigued by something you said and will ask follow-up questions. When this happens, you have them hooked on wanting to hear more.
- Be excited: Sticking with the movie theme, when you see a boring movie trailer, do you want to go see that film? Me neither. Try discussing the parts of your work experience that excite you. When you talk about topics that get you animated, most employers will notice and appreciate your energy.
- Be relevant: You have about two minutes to answer this question and wow your employer. Only discuss topics that are relevant to the job for which you are applying.
Answering this question well can set the tone for the rest of the interview and compel the interviewers to want to know more.