A. Give a laundry list of your past jobs and skills.
B. Get personal and talk about your hobbies and where you were born.
C. Tell them exactly what they want to hear.
The answer is “C. Tell them exactly that they want to hear.” Because when an interview says, “Tell me about yourself,” what they really mean is, “Sell me yourself, and tell me how you can help me.” They want to know exactly why you’re qualified for this position at this company.
A good introduction is just like a good cover letter. There is no need to reiterate your resume (because they’ve seen that!). This is the time to discuss the interesting but relevant life experiences and skills that make you a great fit for this position. Your answer should be unique to each job you apply for. You need a hook, and a story that they’ll remember.
Be sure to give specific examples. Was there a unique project that you worked on in your last job that aligns perfectly with this position? Are there certain professional skills that you accumulated at your last company that put you a step above the rest? Do you participate in extra-curricular activities that show your dedication to this cause?
It’s OK to drop in a couple personal tidbits such as, “As a marathoner, I know what it takes to start a project and take it all the way across the finish line.” Or, “I’ve always been interested in working for a non-profit, and my extensive experience working for these charities in my free time proves that commitment.” Just be sure that everything you’re sharing is being shared for a purpose.
So what’s your story? Start practicing!
Image by World Relief Spokane.