How to Talk About Yourself in a Job Interview
Talking about yourself in regular conversation proves simple for many. You discuss personal anecdotes, recent activity or likes and dislikes. But how about when you’re at a job interview?
The nature of interviewing may be unfamiliar to you. It’s not strange to experience a wave of anxiety at the thought of selling your best qualities. You want to impress your future employer, and most importantly, you don’t want to slip up. When your interviewer asks, “Tell me about yourself,” you may draw a blank.
Interviewing can be worrying when you’re young and straight out of college with little job experience. In this case, emphasizing the experience you do have is paramount. You wonder how you’re going to market yourself in an engaging but truthful way.
Fear no more. With this post, you’ll learn how to talk about yourself and prove why you’re a perfect match while being honest, appealing and concise. The next time you go for an interview, take a deep breath and relax — you’ve got this!
Know The Company
Before you go for your interview, research the essential parts of the company. You should know about the company’s values, benefits, and culture ahead of time. Asking current and former employees is a great way to receive guidance because they’ve experienced the employer firsthand. Hiring managers want to see that you care about their company and that you’ll strive to improve their workplace.
In addition to the company itself, review job duties and salary information for the job you’re applying for. The worst thing to do is not investigate the position thoroughly and end up shocked on the first day of work. You may realize you don’t know enough about your job, and that this isn’t what you wanted after all. Preparedness is key. After you’ve researched, practice using interview etiquette and answering potential questions.
Highlight Former Job Strengths
Your interviewer wants to be sure of your dedication to your work. By informing them of past accomplishments at previous workplaces, you reassure them of your resolve.
Speak only of work experience relevant to the desired position. Reflect on the lessons you learned from these jobs and how they continue to improve your work ethic.
You can also cite specific numbers and percentages to show your interviewer tangible evidence of your talents. Avoid vague statements like, “I’m good with people.” How many customers have you serviced?
When you’re entering the workforce, you likely don’t have a ton of work experience to cite. It may be difficult or unpleasant to talk about yourself when you feel you haven’t done enough.
Instead, use examples from past internships, volunteer efforts or campus organizations. Maybe you were the president of a student organization and had a knack for administrative duties. Perhaps you learned hard skills — such as data analyzing or computer programming — at an internship relevant to your field of work. Use these to your advantage.
Communicate Present Skills
Accentuate current capabilities as well as former strengths. At this point, your interviewer will already know what you’re capable of — now they want to see how you’ve grown since then.
Did you pick up any noteworthy skills or traits from your previous experiences? You may consider memorizing your resume and reciting the information on it, but refrain from this. Always give more detail.
Bring some personality to your job interview. Prepare yourself, but don’t come off robotic. Employers want to be sure they’re adding someone personable to their team who’ll adjust well to fellow employees. If you seem distant, they’ll assume you’re not serious about wanting the job. Enthusiasm is refreshing.
Avoid getting too personal, however. Remember that you’re at an interview and be professional. Don’t provide information like marital status or political affiliation. Employers are not to expect this information from you anyway, but telling them could work against you.
Look Toward the Future
Tell them why you look forward to working with them and what you believe you’ll bring to their company. Why will they be better off for hiring you? What can they expect from you on a regular workday?
Discuss the lessons and skills you hope to gain from working for them. They want to hear why you picked their company to apply to, and “Because I need a job” is not the best answer — even if it’s true!
Your interviewer will ask various questions of you, but don’t forget to ask some of your own. Employers like seeing ambition and desire for knowledge. Asking questions proves that you’re genuine about the position and want to know more about the company.
Mindfulness doesn’t end after the interview, however. Once you get the job, stay aware of the company culture and how you fit into it.
Get Ready to Ace It
Shake off your nervousness and have confidence that you’ll win over your interviewers. When you show your authentic, winning personality, people will surely acknowledge your wealth of potential.
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