One of the most common questions you’ll be asked during an interview will be “Tell me about yourself”. This video is going to help you answer that question and start the interview on a positive note.

Why do they ask it?

They want you to answer this comfortably and confidently, and want to learn about your unique selling points. They want relevant, professional achievements that align with the open position and their team’s values.

Don’t panic, prepare!

They want to know a brief highlight of your achievements, success stories, and a summary of your best skills. Make sure your answer is specific. When you describe yourself, use action verbs and keywords that reflect the requirements in the job posting.

What do you say?

Your achievements can include experience, education, awards, or volunteering. Success stories can include times you solved problems or overcame challenges. And finally you should tie it all in with what your current objective is.

Here’s some examples.

High School Student

If you’re a high school student without much experience, you could speak about associations, volunteering experiences, or student groups that you have been involved in and highlight the skills that you learned from each. Some examples of these could include becoming comfortable with handling money, public speaking, team work, focusing on completing tasks, and meeting deadlines.

You could say “I’m currently a student at ABC High School where I am very active in the school’s planning association. I’ve helped organize various local fundraisers for our school and the community. This has helped me become more comfortable handling money, public speaking, and working with various people.  This is a reason why I believe I would make a great candidate as a cashier at your store.”

College Graduate

A recent college grad could speak about their education and training, and how that provides the tools to complete the job successfully. Be sure to highlight things you found rewarding like studying diligently or practicing constantly. Some examples could be relevant courses, academic achievements, or transferable skills you gained like teamwork, confidence, and leadership.

You could say “My education gave me the tools to succeed, and my training taught me how to complete the job successfully and the opportunity to apply my education. With this knowledge, I gained the confidence to meet future challenges and to complete all necessary tasks. Studying diligently and practicing constantly has really been rewarding. Now I am confident in my work and have earned the respect of my coworkers.”

Changing Positions

If you have some experience and education, and maybe looking to change positions, you should talk about some of your experiences and major responsibilities. Make sure to mention some of your strengths, like attention to detail, perseverance and being a strong team player. Conclude with what you are currently looking for, like joining a strong team that has a positive impact on the community.

You could say “I have been an administrative assistant in the customer service field for the past five years and my most recent experience has been handling a large volume of incoming calls and delegating them to the appropriate departments and staff members. One reason I particularly enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. My real strength is my attention to detail and I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting my numbers. 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.”

Moving to Management

Lastly, if you are looking to move up into management, your answer should be more detailed than the previous three. You will want to go into some detail about how many years of progressive experience you have, what kind of training you’ve done and what kind of roles you’ve had that prepare you for this open position. Touch on leadership ability and examples of how you’ve empowered or motivated a previous team. Conclude with a statement referencing your readiness and ability to pursue a management position with that company.   

You could say “I was born and raised in Barrie and have an excellent knowledge of the area as well as Grey Bruce and Simcoe County. During the last 10 years with the ABC Freight Company, I have progressed through positions of Package Loader, Courier, Dispatcher, and Team Lead. In my most recent position, I have had the opportunity to complete numerous management training programs, provide supervision and leadership to all positions within the station, and participate in special projects in conjunction with Senior and District Managers. I enjoy being a Lead and the opportunity to empower and motivate my team. Last year I was awarded “Manufacturing Leadership” for bringing my team to reach yearly productivity quota. I believe this experience and training has prepared me to take the next step and pursue a management position with DEF Company.”

Remember to always focus on the positive, and good luck.

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