Be Prepared To Answer This Job Interview Question

Business Team

In any interview situation, be prepared for this scenario:  everybody has settled in and the formal greetings are over.  The interviewers shift into interview mode and want you to set the stage by summarizing your entire application package.  

It’s the classic “tell us about yourself.”  Though it might be worded differently: 

I’m new to the search committee and didn’t have time to look at your application packet.

It’s been a year since you submitted your application, so can you refresh our memories.

Give us an overview of your application packet.  

First, you have to be prepared for this question! You cannot be taken off guard and ramble.

This question is not about when & where you were born and your hobbies.  

This question is meant to test whether you have a short, clear, concise description of your professional life.  You need to answer with a beginning, middle, and end.  Something like this:    

  • I first got interested in the field….
  • Then I did the following to pursue that interest…
  • My recent experience includes…
  • And now I’m…..

If you’re looking for your first job, it’s probably about a childhood experience or something in high school or college that ignited your interest.  Then you pursued related post-secondary study, summer jobs, internships, etc.  Try to conclude by illustrating how you are staying active even as you interview for jobs.

This can seem difficult if you are looking for your first job, but it’s even harder if you have to summarize a twenty-year career in three short sentences. Either way, develop the story and practice it in your head so you are ready to quickly and naturally deliver the answer when the opportunity presents itself.

Darcy Lear is a career coach specializing in training students to highlight their language studies so they standout in the job search and workplace. For one-on-one coaching or to set up a workshop, contact Darcy:
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