How to answer “tell me about yourself — part two

How to answer "tell me about yourself"

Before you can answer this question successfully, you must know two things: Your goals—what you want to do—plus the needs and interests of the people you’re talking to. Then you can match those goals to your interviewer’s needs. This lets you target your answer in a way that makes you a perfect fit for the job.

Now, let’s practice answering “tell me about yourself.” Think of three skills you know that your next interviewer would die for. Write each skill on top of a 3×5 index card. Under each skill list two stories as one-liners where you can show how you performed that skill in previous jobs to the highest level of your ability. Tell about what you did and the result. Also beforehand, rehearse your answers at least four times.

Then, when asked to tell me about yourself, you can say, “Well, Randy, I have three areas of experience you might be interested in: project leadership, accounting, and management. Which area would you like me to talk about first?” Your prospective employer will usually select an area. After you’ve finished talking about it, pause to see if she wants to ask a question about what you’ve discussed. When the conversation gets bogged down, say, “would you like me to tell you about (mention the next area you’ve listed)? In this way you can discuss how you’ve already performed the three important functions you know she wants.

I’ve named this technique, an old standard job finding method, “the positioned approach.” That’s because you’ve positioned or targeted your answer in the bullseye of what your target is interested in.

Clients who I’ve coached in the use of this technique find it’s much more effective and easier to use than memorizing a boring and tedious two-minute pitch which, as I mentioned in my last post, is a memorized brain dump. So practice answering this mother of all interviewing questions as outlined above. Some clients have often asked asked, “Don’t interviewers know you’ve rehearsed your answers to tell me about yourself?” You’ll get my answer to their query in my third and final installment in this series about answering this question. That’ll happen on Wednesday morning. So stay tuned for the next post on

I also cover how to answer “tell me about yourself” from quite a few other angles in the chapter titled, “how to turn interviews into job offers,” in my book, “Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.” So treat yourself to a great Holiday gift by ordering Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach from Amazon.

You’ll learn some amazing job-finding techniques in just a minute each. Then you can apply them to your search in order to land a good job faster and make money sooner.

Copyright ©2015 by Ransom (Randy) Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.