This is a guest post by Katie Quesada, speaker, storyteller, and coach who helps people and companies tell better stories.If you are interested in contributing to our blog with a unique story to share let us know.
We all know the scenario. You enter an interview, sit down, take a deep breath... and hear the prompt: "So, tell me a little about yourself."
GULP. Cue the stressful internal thoughts. Are they asking for my resume? Do they want my life story? Are they wondering about my hometown? Do they need to know that I do roller derby?
It is hard to know how to answer the "So tell me about yourself" question. The truth is that this question is less about the information you share and more about making an impression.
You want to be succinct, honest, light and connected - all in under one minute.
Many of the clients I work with answer this question with way too much information. They start sharing things planned to be asked later in the interview, or they recite their resume - which the interviewers already know. Other clients answer the question with way too little and miss the opportunity to connect with the room and make a great first impression.
I am excited to share a super simple formula for answering this question in 6 sentences. Grab a pen and paper, fill out each sentence below, and in the end, you will have a confident and concise introduction to yourself and your story. You've got this!
Hi + Your Name + What You Do + Where You Are From: This is a simple hello. No need to say every place you've lived or every member of your family. The basics will work here. Give them context for your life. Example: "Hi! I'm Sarah Fuller. I am a nutritionist. My family and I love in Portland, OR."
Your Experience: Share how long you have been doing what you're doing. Now is a good time to elevate yourself a bit. Been in the industry for 10 years? Have one great skill? Win an award? Say it here! Example: "I have been a nutritionist for 10 years and went to Duke University."
Here Is How I Help People & Why I Love It: Be yourself! Write something that you have done in any role that solves a problem and WHY you are good at it. Example: "I help people learn how to have a healthy relationship with food."
Here Is Something About Me That Is Deep & True: This is part of your story. Be honest here. Are you a new mom? Did you survive cancer? Are you part of a compelling community? Here is where you build bridges in the room. Example: "In my own life I struggled with food addiction, but learned ow to create a healthy lifestyle through nutrition."
Something Light & Welcoming That Creates Connection: Fun! Levity! Laughter! Think pets, vacations, niches. This will build connection and will work wonders for post-interview small talk. Example: "I also have 9 dogs, all English Bulldogs!"
Express Gratitude & Enthusiasm For The Company: This part is about them. Make the company feel special and give a solid example of why you think they are great. Example: "I am so thankful to be here today. I love how your company cares for our community and I am looking forward to seeing if I would be a great fit."
What's next? Take all 6 sentences and build your perfect answer.
"Hi! I’m Sarah Fuller. I am a nutritionist. My family and I live in Portland, OR. I have been a nutritionist for 10 years, and went to Duke University. I help people learn how to have a healthy relationship with food. In my own life I struggled with food addiction, but created a healthy lifestyle through nutrition. I also have 9 dogs, all English bulldogs! I am so thankful to be here today. I love how your company cares for our community and I am looking forward to seeing if I would be a great fit."
That was 25 seconds long.
Now read yours aloud and time yourself! I'll wait. Really, read it aloud.
How did it feel?
Keep it short, then do the work of memorizing this answer to build confidence and clarity. You have just learned how to make a great first impression, not just transfer information.
Now the next time you hear "So tell me about yourself," you will have a confident answer ready to make the room feel at ease.
Remember, your story is worth telling.
Katie Quesada has been speaking at a wide variety of conferences and events for over 10 years. She is deeply passionate about storytelling and walking with people to craft their stories in a concise and compelling way. Katie and her husband Danny live with their two daughters Gracie and Lane in Orange, CA. Katie and her family spent the last few years living in a 180 square foot tiny house. She believes the best stories are told around the dinner table.
If you want to work more on how to share your story in a group, in an interview, on a stage, or just in the mirror, get in touch! Stories are Katie's passion and she would love to help you craft yours. Visit Katie's website or follow along on Instagram.