Question mark

How to ‘tell me about yourself’

This should be a very easy question to answer, but at an interview or when networking, many of us stumble and either blurt out our life story or recite our CV starting from when we left school. Neither of those is the desired answer but there is a simple, structured way to answer this question successfully.

Let’s think about why the question is asked. Well, it signifies that you are a number of things:

  • articulate and self-aware
  • can select relevant information to share
  • can communicate information clearly and concisely

In addition, the answer gives evidence of achievements and sets the scene to talk further about your strengths and the results you deliver as the conversation develops.

Back in 2019, I published a blog on how to approach this question but many requests for help along the lines of “OK, I get that but how do I actually write it?’ have come in so here is a step-by-step guide.

What you need to create is a pitch or value proposition that demonstrates what you bring to a role, how you generate results and add value. So, it’s just not about you as a professional, it’s about how you contribute to a business and have impact.

There are various formulas you can follow but this is my go-to and it’s been very successful with clients:

  • Who you are (i.e. role or job title)
  • What you do/cover
  • Two or three of your key strengths
  • A brief example or two of the value you bring/outcomes you generate
  • Whistle-stop career journey/your career foundation
  • What you are looking for in the future

That’s it.

Almost.

You need to do all of that in no more than two minutes. It’s brief and concise so think of it as just a few sentences. Here’s an example:

“I’m a career and transition coach who focuses on helping people identify their strengths and use them to be happier and more productive at work. I do this by using key abilities in listening and asking questions (sometimes tough questions) to challenge clients to think in new ways and move out of their comfort zone.

I’m action-focused and partner with clients to set and achieve goals that are both realistic and aspirational and I’ve helped over 200 clients move their careers forward. I’ve changed career twice and that’s what led me to my own practice which has now been running for 10 years. Looking ahead, I’d like to explore how technology can help me connect with people and coach in new ways.”

And this is 44 seconds when I say it out loud.

Here’s another example:

“I’m a sales strategy leader with over 25 years’ experience shaping the vision and strategy for telecoms and tech providers and translating that into actionable Go-To-Market activity. We operate now with a new type of client base and my key strength is championing new ways of thinking to engage digitally native customers, disrupt market norms and exceed customer expectations.

I’m known for my ability to embrace ambiguity and operate in challenging market conditions and I’m recognised for navigating complex organisational structures and creating roadmaps that clearly define how teams and functions will collaborate to move forward and how that will feed into the bigger picture of business strategy.

My career foundation was built at TechCorp where I came up through the ranks from computing sales before gaining broader experience in marketing, data and forecasting. I moved into telecoms eight years ago and have enjoyed the challenge of a new sector and have driven the UK business to outperform expectations by 26% over two years. In my next role, I’m keen to see how we can innovate around GTM strategies and transform how we engage with our customer base.”

A little longer at 65 seconds but it’s still plenty of information to effectively answer the ‘tell me about yourself’ question and provide a springboard for a deeper conversation.

If you need some help identifying your value proposition and putting your pitch together, why not get in touch for a session of Career Therapy?

Email louise@careertherapy.co.uk 
Linkedin Louise Newton
Photo by Qimono on Pixabay

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