“Tell me about yourself”

“Tell me about yourself.”

It’s the worst and best interview question.  It depends on how prepared you are for it.

If you start off on a long, rambling story that begins with your accomplishments on the high school football field, you missed your chance to take a really ambiguous question and make it a great marketing pitch for you.

As Lifehacker.com recently reported (and we agree), the best way to answer this question is with a well-thought-out, structured marketing pitch.  Here is what they suggest:

Answer the question with a brief summary of your career (one sentence), an example of one of your career accomplishments (one or two sentences) and a summary of what you want to find in a position the position at hand (one or two sentences).

Here’s how we’d play the interview:

Q:  Tell me about yourself.

A:  I am a commercial litigator with eight years of experience, four which were with a top national firm and four in boutique litigation shop focusing on products liability defense. (Part One)

Recently, I was involved in a litigation matter where I was the lead attorney in a case in District Court where [insert accomplishment]….. (Part Two)

For the next step in my career, I would like to return to a larger firm with more resources and a larger platform as I develop my book of business.  I have worked hard to market my practice and realize that being at a firm where I can cross-sell both transactional work along with my litigation services would allow me to originate significantly more business.  (Part Three)

This gives you a great opportunity to talk about yourself and how you can immediately contribute to the firm.  Answer that way and your interview will be off to a great start!

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