LexiBoost Du Jour:
Loquacious (adj.): talking or tending to talk much or freely; talkative; chattering; babbling; garrulous
“So, tell me about yourself…”
It’s that dreaded statement. I get it. Trust me, I do. I have found myself frozen at the very start of the ss in “So”.
You know it’s coming and yet it seems you’re still never prepared. Again, I know. But the truth is, as asinine as it seems, the request is a fair one. If you don’t know anything interesting about yourself, why should a potential employer care to get to know you?
See, never thought about it that way before, have you? Well, I hadn’t either, until after a very wise person had listened to me complain for hours about the offensive interview tactic, then gave me his answer to “So, tell me about yourself.” In three sentences, this dear (read “awful”) person offered a succinct and intriguing overview of himself, his purpose, and his future goals. It was amazing to me! It opened my eyes to the brilliance of his answer, even as I still believe the request is a reprehensible convention.
So–no, I’m not saying it again, lol!–I hope to be somewhat as inspiring as this person was for me (although he was also rather nauseating). Here’s three foolproof steps to following up that rather horrid statement:
Step 1: Control your mouth. Resist the urge to babble uncontrollably. It’s understandable–it’s a terrible question! But instead of letting it show that you hate the question, give your brain a second to kick start. You can say, “Give me a moment to think about that.” Then, take the moment. Assess the situation, the position for which you’re interviewing, and your interviewer. Which leads to…
Step 2: Assess your target
“What exactly would you like to know more about–me personally or my professional identity?”
Step 3: Address their concern, quick and concise (3 sentence max!)
Addressing the Personal: Offer insight to your interests outside of work that may complement your career goals. For instance, if you love to knit, you might say something like:
“My hobby is knitting and I find it a soothing exercise that clears my head and allows an outlet for creativity. Figuring out how to knit a certain set of patterns together to form a cohesive and attractive whole, that is not only visually appealing but also functional, gives me great satisfaction.”
Look at what that says about you! Creative, organized, able to see the forest and the trees, and able to appreciate the aesthetic while also understanding the need of function. Score!
Addressing the Professional: Be truthful about your history, your current situation and your future desires. From my own perspective:
“I have been a freelance writer and editor for over five years and I find my work extremely satisfying and challenging. I currently work with a variety of clients which offers a multitude of ways for me to express my breadth of talents. I welcome all opportunities to explore my craft on different levels for the betterment of the reading world.”
It’s clear, it’s true, it’s good info. I’ve told you what I do, that I enjoy the challenge of multitasking, and that I look forward to taking on more responsibility for a purpose. Score!
The keys: Be organized, be prepared, be brief.
Then for more specific help with your career goals, contact us!
Kate E. Stephenson is a freelance communications specialist whose business encompasses content writing, comprehensive editing and quality resume services. Lexicon is her brainchild, a blog all about Language—insight into today’s job market and hiring tips, book releases and reviews, and general folly concerning the many mysterious facets of the English language and human communication. Be sure to read more about Kate, check out a full listing of services, and enjoy her columns here on Lexicon and on Kate.Book.com!