How to Answer, 'Tell Me About Yourself,' in a Job Interview
Master the “Tell me about yourself” interview question with methods like Present-Past-Future, CAR, and more, including the SIC method, the best way to nail it.
One question that often throws people off during interviews is, "Tell me about yourself." It may seem easy, but a lot of job seekers struggle with figuring out what to include or leave out. Sometimes, they end up describing their whole life story!
In this newsletter issue, I'll be sharing some awesome techniques on how to answer it. I've got seven methods that you could use for answering this question. Fun fact, I actually came up with one of these methods a few years ago, and let me tell you, it's been the most effective way I've found so far in addressing this question. Super excited to spill the beans!
Just a heads up, I won't be providing precise answers on how to respond to this question, as every situation is unique, and so are you. It would be irresponsible of me to offer non-personalized answers that don't take into account your specific circumstances and profile.
I hope the tips and methods shared in this newsletter issue will be helpful in guiding you on how to handle this question with grace and effectiveness.
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How to Answer: Tell Me About Yourself
Before we dive into the methods you can use, it's important to understand that when the interviewer asks this question, they're not looking for your life story! They want to get a brief overview of who you are.
So when you answer, think about the qualities and skills that make you a valuable asset to any employer. This could include your professional background, education, expertise, and other relevant details that show why you're the right fit for the job.
Method 1: The Present-Past-Future Formula
One great way to tackle the "Tell me about yourself" question is by using the Present-Past-Future formula. It's a really effective method that helps you organize your thoughts in a simple and linear way. Plus, it gives your answer a story-like vibe, so it's super easy to follow and keeps the listener engaged.
Present: Begin by talking about your current role, responsibilities, and key achievements. This offers the interviewer immediate insight into your current skill set and work ethic.
Past: Then, delve into relevant past experiences that have led you to your current position. You can talk about your academic background, past jobs, internships, or any other relevant experiences that shaped your career path.
Future: Finally, discuss your future aspirations. Describe the kind of role you're aiming for and how it aligns with the role you're applying for.
Why it works: The Present-Past-Future formula gives your story a clear narrative arc, making it easy for the interviewer to understand your career path. It shows that you can organize your thoughts effectively, which is a valuable skill in any workplace.
Method 2: The 'Elevator Pitch'
Your elevator pitch comes in handy during job interviews, especially when they ask you to talk about yourself. Interviewers usually start with the question, "Tell me about yourself."
So, think of your elevator pitch as a super-condensed version of how you'd respond to that. This method is not just effective for business meetings when you're pitching your next startup idea, but it's also a really effective way for interviews.
An 'elevator pitch' is a brief, persuasive speech used to spark interest in what you're offering. The goal is to deliver a clear and concise overview of your abilities, skills, and value proposition. It's called an elevator pitch because it should be concise enough to present during a brief elevator ride.
The formula for an effective elevator pitch is: "Who I am + What I do + How I do it + Why it’s beneficial".
Who I am: Start with your name, if you haven't already been introduced, and what you consider your most vital professional identifier.
What I do: Then, tell the interviewer what you do or what kind of roles you've had in the past.
How I do it: Discuss how you do it, focusing on your unique skills or experiences that enable you to perform your work effectively.
Why it’s beneficial: End by explaining how what you do benefits the organization you’re part of, highlighting your value proposition.
Why it works: The elevator pitch method works because it’s short, sharp, and to the point. It allows you to articulate your value proposition quickly and effectively, without going off on unnecessary tangents. This method is particularly useful when you're interviewing for a role where clear and concise communication is critical.
Method 3: The 'Tell a Story'
Humans are naturally inclined towards stories; we love them! The 'Tell a Story' method allows you to weave a compelling narrative about your journey, highlighting your skills, experience, and values in an engaging way.
Setting: Start with the background information: where you started your career or where you learned the skill that's crucial for the job you're applying for.
Climax: Talk about the peak of your career or a pivotal point that led you to where you are now.
Resolution: End with where you are currently, and how your experiences and skills make you a perfect fit for the job you're applying for.
Why it works: The 'Tell a Story' method captivates the interviewer's attention, making you memorable. It also allows you to showcase your communication skills and demonstrate your ability to connect your past experiences to your current career goals.
Method 4: The WAT (Work, Achievement, Target)
The Work, Achievement, Target (WAT) Method allows you to talk about your professional life concisely and effectively. This method focuses on the work you've done, the achievements you've garnered, and the targets you've set for yourself.
Work: Describe the kind of work you've been involved in, specifying your roles and responsibilities.
Achievement: Highlight your achievements in these roles. Discuss any awards, recognition, or significant outcomes that resulted from your work.
Target: Discuss your future goals. Describe the target you've set for yourself and how the job you're applying for aligns with these targets.
Why it works: The WAT Method offers a clear, linear view of your professional trajectory. It highlights your accomplishments and ambition, making it a perfect way to communicate your dedication and commitment to growth.
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Method 5: The SPIES Method
The SPIES (Skills, Projects, Interests, Experiences, and Strengths) Method provides a broader view of you as a candidate.
Skills: Start by discussing your key skills that make you suitable for the role.
Projects: Highlight the projects you've worked on that have honed these skills.
Interests: Share your interests that align with the company culture or role.
Experiences: Talk about your experiences, professional or otherwise, that have prepared you for the role.
Strengths: Lastly, focus on your strengths and how they will benefit the company.
Why it works: The SPIES Method paints a holistic picture of you as a candidate, integrating your personal interests and experiences into your professional narrative. It's ideal for roles that value a strong culture fit or well-rounded individuals.
Method 6: The CAR (Challenge, Action, Result) Technique
The CAR technique encourages you to present your experiences as stories with challenges, actions, and results. This technique enables you to focus on your problem-solving abilities and the results you've achieved.
Challenge: Begin by outlining a challenge you've faced in your career.
Action: Describe the action you took to overcome the challenge.
Result: Share the results of your actions, focusing on the positive outcomes and what you learned from the experience.
Why it works: The CAR technique gives you a chance to demonstrate your problem-solving skills and your ability to bring about positive change. This method works well in interviews for roles where problem-solving and initiative are key.
Master the Art of "Tell me about yourself.”
The "Tell me about yourself" question may seem overwhelming due to its open-ended nature, but with the right approach, it presents an excellent opportunity to shine. The WAT, SPIES, and SIC methods add more tools to your interview toolkit, each with unique strengths and applications.
Remember, the best approach is one that feels most comfortable to you and best matches the role and company culture. Practice, refine, and own your narrative - it's the most compelling story you can tell. After all, nobody knows you better than you. With these methods, you're equipped to tackle this question and make a powerful first impression.
Best Method How to Answer 'Tell Me About Yourself' Question
A couple of years back, I was on the hunt for the absolute best approach to tackle this question, and let me tell you, I wasn't too thrilled with the methods I came across. So, I came up with my own method called the SIC method. It's been proven over the years and delivers outstanding results for my clients, and it is a method that I am using too.
Method 7: The SIC Method
Why do I believe it's the most effective way? Well, this technique is designed to address the three key factors that interviewers look for: competence, the potential for impact, and culture fit.
By specifically addressing these areas, any candidate can give a highly focused and relevant response. This makes the SIC method more than just a way to answer, but also a strategy to show a clear understanding of your professional value proposition and how it aligns with the company's needs. This significantly boosts the effectiveness of your response!
Unlock the secrets of mastering it: