CareerOwl Featured Career Article

Tell Me About Yourself
copyright (c) by Kevin Donlin

One of the most dreaded job interview questions has to be "So, tell me about yourself ..."

How in the heck do you prepare for an open-ended question like that?

Fear not!

Kevin Donlin
Kevin Donlin

This week, our guest expert, Carole Martin, a job interview coach with 15 years of experience, is here to help!

So, without further ado, here's Carole ...

Your response to "Tell me about yourself," will set the tone for the entire interview. You cannot afford to wing this answer!

Here are five ways you can prepare.

1) Focus
List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job -- experience, traits, skills, etc. What do you want the interviewer to remember about you most?

2) Script
Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Talk about past experiences and proven success. Example:

"I have been in the customer service industry for five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high tech industry. One reason I really enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 30
percent increase in sales in 6 months."

3) Mention your strengths and abilities:
"My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time."

4) Conclude with a statement about your current situation:
"What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales."

5) Practice
Practice with your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize. Your script should help you stay on track, but you shouldn't memorize it -- you don't want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational.

Even if you are not asked this type of question in an interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer.

You will also find that you can use the information in this exercise to assist you in answering other questions. The more you can talk about your product -- you -- the better chance you will have at selling it!

Carole Martin,'s Interview Coach, has 15 years of human resources management experience. She is a recognized expert on behavioral interviewing techniques and offers a free interview assessment to readers at

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Kevin Donlin is Managing Editor of 1 Day Resumes. The 1DR writers provide same-day, one-on-one resume writing assistance. He is also author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days ... or your money back. For more information, click here.

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