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Tell Me About Yourself

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When I meet with job seekers, I always start by saying, "Tell me about yourself." Sometimes, I have a job seeker tell me, in 30-60 seconds, exactly who they are, what they are looking for, and how I can help them. More often than not, though, I hear either the job seeker's entire life story for the next 5-10 minutes, or, I hear vague statements ranging from "I am really passionate about working with children" to "My mom was a teacher and now I want to be one, too." While both of these answers might be helpful as a career advisor, if I were an employer, it would be a totally different story.

"Tell me about yourself" is a conversation starter used in interviews, at networking events, and even at social events as we meet someone new. I love thinking about this 2-3 sentence response as a branding statement, but people call it a million different things: positioning statement, elevator pitch, 30-second commercial, 60-second commercial... you get the idea!

Your response should be short, sweet, and take no longer than 30-60 seconds to get out and into the world. No matter what you call it, your branding statement should answer these four questions:

  1. Who are you currently?
  2. Why are your credible?
  3. What are your areas of focus or specialty?
  4. Why are you unique?

Your synthesized response to these four questions is the thesis statement of your job search: it should outline your education, accomplishments, interests, and value you bring to any school or district.

Check out the University of Rhode Island's examples of Bad vs. Good responses to "Tell me about yourself," and then begin crafting your own response now!

Helen L. Roy, M.Ed.

Career Readiness Advisor

National Louis University

Chicago, IL


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