You hear it at almost every job interview — “Tell me about yourself”

Don’t get caught off-guard!

This is your chance to show how lucky they would be to hire you.

As IT recruiters, we interview people everyday. It’s easy to tell who’s ready and who’s not.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for responding to “Tell me about yourself” in a job interview.

Job Interview

Avoid statements like “I’m devoted, dedicated, hardworking”

These phrases seem canned and don’t reveal anything specific about your approach to work. Almost everyone says they are hardworking.

Employers want details. Why should they hire you over the next person interviewing for the same job? Show them how you actually demonstrated the positive qualities they need.

Give a specific example that shows how you demonstrated your work ethic to solve a problem. Did you work overtime, exceed expectations,help to save a project or keep a client?

Highlight key points about yourself that relate to the job

Is this your first job? Talk about your educational background, job-related journals or blogs you follow, and any job experience, group work or volunteer work you’ve done that shows your skills and dedication to your field.

If this isn’t your first job, highlight your previous job experience, how you keep your skills up-to-date, and positive results you achieved in previous projects.

Exact numbers and figures on how much money you made for or saved a company are music to a future employers ears!

Be sure to mention if you exceeded a past employer’s expectations or performance goals. You can bet the next question they’ll ask is how you plan to do this for their company.

Clipboard with checklist

Click this image to see the “tell me about yourself” checklist and plan the perfect answer.

Don’t wing it

If you try to come up with a response to awkward interview questions on the spot, you might forget some important information that sums up your experiences and background. Definitely plan your answer to this question beforehand.

Plan your answer with the Tell Me About Yourself Checklist.

Don’t ramble on

Keep your answer short and informative.

This is your interview version of the elevator speech, named that way because it should be about the length of an elevator ride – a few sentences long, maximum.

You want your answer to be detailed enough to get the most important information across without being boring.

Brand yourself

Create a personal tagline that tells the interviewer what you do and the  ‘X’ factor that sets you apart from everyone else.

Stay away from listing broad skill sets. Employers want to hear the juicy stuff. Let them hear specific results that came from your skill sets.

For example, if you’re a web developer, your response might go something like: “I’m a web developer with over 8 years in the business, 250 websites and apps built to date. I have a track record of doing X resulting in increased revenue of $1 million this quarter alone.”

This post may help: Top Programming Languages to Get a Job in Toronto in 2017

Practice, practice, practice

The more you practice answering the question, “Tell me about yourself,” the better it flows when you introduce yourself.

Try recording yourself on a webcam or practice in front of a mirror to watch your body language and tone. This helps you change bad habits like fidgeting, talking too quietly or loudly, and avoiding eye contact with the interviewer.

Take 5 minutes lift your energy before the interview

It’s natural to feel nervous when you’re faced with a tough question like Tell me about yourself.

Take 5 minutes to do some easy mind hacks to calm yourself and feel more confident even if you’re nervous.

Basically, you want to smile, improve your posture and replace your worried thoughts to memories of good work you did in the past. Then think about the good work you would love to do to help this company in the future.

How do you reply to the question Tell me about yourself?

Please let me know in the comments section below.

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