I have yet to see a more common opening question on an interview than “Tell me about yourself,” it is also usually the question that I spend the majority of my time coaching clients on. Crafting a winning opening story really sets the tone for the interview. This is the time that you can position your experience and background to speak to the job for which you are interviewing.
I don't think we spend enough time reflecting on all the things that we've accomplished and how those experiences set us up for success. Every year I like to write out all the things that I've manifested within my life. I think the same thing should be done within our professional life. There is so much going on at work and within our businesses that we may not even be taking note of a new skill that we are developing or project that we may be spearheading that has a major effect on the business and its bottom line. All of this information will help you in crafting opening stories that really speak to a company's needs.
When preparing for an interview or phone call with an employer, thinking about the company needs is the first step. Analyze the company and the position, and decipher what the employer is really asking for. What are the experiences and skills that would allow someone to thrive in this role? After you know what the employer is looking for, you can craft your story to touch on relevant experiences and skills.
"Tell me about yourself" is really asking for an overview of your background as it relates to the job. Since people tend to respond to quantitative data, I generally start off by bringing attention to the number of years of experience I have. Then I give an overview of my experience, highlighting the skills that are relevant, next I discuss my education or training, and finish with relevant personal attributes that will help me succeed in the role or mesh with the company culture.
The first impression is key to shaping an interview. Use this open ended question to position yourself as the right candidate. Create a story that makes the interviewer look up from your resume and take notice. The better you position yourself from the start the better chance you have of controlling the flow of the interview and mentioning all of your relevant experience.
That said I would like to tell you about myself:
“Hi, I’m Jasmine Briggs, I have 8 years of experience as an employment services professional. I started my career as a Legal Recruiting Assistant, supporting 2 Legal Recruiters with sourcing and cold-calling candidates. I then went on to be a Recruiter and Trainer in Workforce Development and non-profits. There I sourced job opportunities and collaborated with hiring managers on recruiting for positions. I also developed and facilitated workshops on topics related to the job search and hiring trends. Currently I am a Career Counselor and Career Coach within a business college, where I source job opportunities and build relationships with Hiring and HR Managers. I also train students and facilitate workshops on job search techniques, interview skills and how to effectively use LinkedIn and social media. I have my Master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology and my Bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University. I am creative, personable, and comfortable interviewing and training high level executives and entry level candidates or recent graduates.”