The first question commonly asked at a job interview is, “Tell me about yourself.” They may ask it like, “tell us about your past work experience and how it prepares you for this job.” It is the same question. The secret to making a positive impact with this answer is to be prepared. Most people feel nervous at the beginning of the interview and knowing how to answer this question can help set the tone for the rest. It should be conversational, enjoyable to listen to and full of information that helps the interviewer(s) understand where you come from.

There are five parts to the answer. Today we’ll look at Part 1: The Introduction.

The Introduction

The introduction is where you provide a short overview of what you’ve been up to professionally and maybe touch on your education if it is relevant. You’ll want to let them know what area you have been working in and for how long.

If I were applying for a career coaching position, my intro might sound like this.

I am a career development professional who has been working with people to help them gain confidence in their stories and selves for over 15 years. I have done this work in schools, theatres, corporate boardrooms, and most recently as a private practice. I have worked with all types of professionals from accountants to robotic engineers. I have a BA in theatre in education — I don’t train actors–I use drama to offer real experiences. I hold an M.Ed and a certificate in Human Resources. I am a certified resume strategist and continue to invest in my personal development.

To prep for the intro, fill in the blanks below.

What is your professional label in this interview: (eg. HR professional, accountant, paper folder)

Years doing this work:

Type of environment: corporate office, forest, bakery

A unique feature to pique interest: maybe a unique place you worked, high-level client, cool project you made happen

Education that supports the work experience: This could be through college or through online or other informal learning.

It doesn’t need to be presented in this order, play around with it until it feels right.

In the next post, we’ll get into Part II: Super Skills.