Tell Me About Yourself
“Tell me a little about yourself?” This is one of the interview questions I recommend you have nailed before you walk into any interview. Why? Because you know you are going to get asked this and if you have a less than compelling answer, it can set the tone for your entire interview. Don’t waste your first 60 seconds summarizing your resume, they’ve got that. This is an opportunity for you to emphasize why you are the best candidate for this job. Give a concise summary of how you are good fit and back it up with sharing related accomplishments.
The interviewer asks this question because he/she is trying to assess quickly 1) if you CAN do this job, 2) if you WILL do this job, and 3) if you are a good FIT for this job.
Your answer should be a concise summary of the best of you and how it relates to the position you are interviewing for. This is not a one size fits all answer. It needs to be crafted and practiced for each and every position you interview for. Keep it to about 60 seconds and focus on your strongest selling points for the position.
For example: I have worked in the academic setting for over 7 years, first as a substitute teacher, then as a technology specialist and then as an academic librarian all while completing my MLIS. Most recently I created an innovative online instructional program to encourage and empower students to complete assignments on their own after the school library had closed. I was also very successful in creating and maintaining a blog database that summarizes and evaluates library materials for young adults that is highly used by students and faculty. Now that I have completed my degree, I am really interested in an opportunity to apply my technical and instructional skills in a university library.
You can’t share everything about yourself in this first question, but you sure can make a solid first impression and peak the interviewer’s interest in wanting to learn more about you.
For more tips on interviewing success, check out the interviewing section on SLIS Career Development and for a unique experience practicing your interviewing skills, try our on-line mock interviewing tool Big Interview.