Some Advice on Navigating the Tricky Age-Old Interview Question, “Tell Me About Yourself”
One of the most common questions that you will be asked in almost every job interview regardless of the position or employer is, “tell me about yourself”. This question can be used greatly to your advantage if you know how to respond, yet so many job seekers still feel intimidated by it. We are going to teach you how to answer this question so that the next time an interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself, you know exactly what to do.
Create Your "Elevator Pitch"
Something that we feel that everyone should know how to do is create an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a brief speech that summarizes who you are and lets your audience get to know more about you as a professional.
The first step to creating your elevator pitch is to evaluate your goals. What is it that you want people to know about you, and what do you want that to accomplish? The answer to this may change situationally. Before something like a job interview, it is a great idea to come back to this first step and re-evaluate your goals even if you already have an elevator pitch.
The next step is to begin actually crafting your elevator pitch starting by explaining what you do. Focus on talking about what you do in your current job role, or your experiences with school, training, or certifications you may have received. This is just to give your audience a quick one-to-two sentence summary of your background.
Once you have your audience acquainted with yourself, it is time to provide your value proposition. You want to explain to the interviewer what value it is that you can bring to their team. This is the part where you have to “brag” about yourself which is often where people run into issues. The two most common mistakes that people make are underselling and overselling. You want to speak confidently about the value that you can bring to an employer but be careful not to oversell yourself by promising things that you cannot follow through on, or boasting skills and experiences that you don’t have. At the same time, you do not want to sound unconfident in your skills as a professional. Finding the middle ground between these two is the sweet spot that employers are looking for.
Now the final step is putting it all together. When you put together your elevator pitch it should be somewhere around 20-30 seconds and engage the audience. You should cut out any information that doesn’t help you reach the initial goal you set behind creating your elevator pitch. Your pitch should be short and to the point so don’t get stuck on minor details!
What Not To Do
Now that we have talked about how to create a successful elevator pitch, let’s talk about what not to do. Avoiding these simple mistakes can help you to nail down your elevator pitch and confidently answer the age-old question “tell us about yourself”.
Avoid making your elevator pitch too personal. While you should be focusing on making your elevator pitch personalized and about you, oversharing details can lose your audience’s interest and ruin a good elevator pitch.
One common mistake is going too deep into their backstory. Your backstory should only have information that provides context to any later information in your pitch. Give only the information on your backstory that your audience needs to know in order to effectively reach the goal of your pitch.
Another common mistake that people make is summarizing their resume in their elevator pitch. Your elevator pitch should not be a quick summary of your entire career. Utilize a key experience or skills that you have within your resume and allow the interviewer to ask you more about it.
Now that you know how to prepare your elevator pitch and what to avoid, the final step is to simply practice. Getting down your perfect elevator pitch may take some time but once you have it down, you are going to be able to answer anyone who asks you, “tell me about yourself” confidently and concisely. There is not a single formula for an elevator pitch that works for everyone in every situation, so be creative and don’t be afraid to get creative. We wish you the best of luck in your job search! Check out our Employment Blog for other tips like this.