How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”

by Matt Goldenberg

Men answering tell me about yourself
I was recently at a conference when I heard one attendee ask another the dreaded question: “Tell me about yourself.”

Pause for a second and think what answer you expect to that question. Usually, it’s something like “I’m an accountant” or “I do web development.”

Breaking the Mold

What I didn’t expect to hear (at least not from someone who hasn’t gone through the Self-Made Renegade premium coaching or products) was this answer:

“I give people super powers.”

That answer didn’t end the conversation – it started it. It was a powerful pattern interrupt that created curiosity and led to a half hour focused conversation and solid connection. And starting focused conversations is one of the most powerful skills you can bring to your next interview or networking event.

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How to Use “Tell Me About Yourself” to Start Focused Conversations – The Two Sentence Story Technique

Today, I’d like to show you a powerful technique you can use to not only start that conversation – but immediately create a positive impression that few other candidates can create.

Conclusion

So here’s the breakdown of the two sentence story technique:

I am the (Memorable Fact or Hook) who helps (Specific Company Type) solve (Painful Problem) by (Unique Solution). I do this because (Compelling Story).

Go ahead and leave a comment, and I’ll give you some personalized advice with what I think.

Bonus Document – The Interview Secret Weapon

This template is the secret weapon my students use to blow away interviewers with their professionalism, preparedeness, proactivity.

Click the link below for free instant access.

11 responses on “How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”

  1. […] Matt’s article here, watch the video, develop your statement and please leave a comment when you have crafted […]

    • Thanks for this Matt. Very entertaining and a great simple concept I think we can all use. Here’s my answer:
      I am a Career Coach helping people to land their dream jobs.

      I help people affected by redundancy, those mid-career looking for new options or a promotion, Grads, PhDs and Women returning to the workforce.

      I do this by creating job search strategies, resumes, job apps and LinkedIn profiles.

      I developed a passion for helping people with their careers after I found myself redundant and had worked with the largest recruitment firm, Manpower developing Career Development Strategies. I understood the sense of feeling disorientated and needing someone unbiased to assist.

      • It’s a good start Jacquie. I think you can tighten it up by asking yourself: “What do I have that others do not?” It’s very important that every word in the two sentence story serves to pique curiosity and differentiate you. As a fellow career coach, here’s my two sentence story:

        I’m a college dropout who helps liberal arts graduate and career changes land their dream jobs without the proper degree, connections, or experience. I do this by modeling the careers of self-made renegades – those who have had stratospheric career success without following the typical career ladder.

        I first got into this after I dropped out of college. I had lots of people telling me that I was going to be a failure, so I started studying successful people who didn’t follow a traditional path. As I became more successful and started sharing what I had learned, more and more people started coming to me for advice. Eventually, I decided to create a company around it.

        As you can see, I didn’t mention the word career coach at all. I lead with a memorable fact (that I’m a college dropout who helps college graduates), and then immediately went into the specific niches I help. It’s very important that you don’t lead with “I’m a career coach” as it will immediately put assumptions on you, and make people think they’ve heard everything they need to hear.

  2. Kelley says:

    Hi Matt. Thanks for this!

    I am a small town girl turned entrepreneur. I help businesses of all sizes to sort through the overwhelming world of logistics to find what is going to cut costs and still keep their customers happy. I do this by asking lots and lots of questions, the non generic kind!

    I got into this because I realized that shipping is a necessary evil and can be a huge expense, and I’ve taken the time to sift through the boring details to understand the industry secrets. Now it’s my job to share them!

    ****Here’s my catch…this is what I’ve done for the past seven years. I started my business, solo, at that time. I sold it 1.5 months ago. Now I’m looking for a new outside sales job, non shipping related, where I manage my own territory but have the support of a larger company. How do I change industries? Thank you!

    • Hey Kelley,

      Great two sentence story. I would hone in on your second sentence, and point to a specific experience that made you “realize that shipping is a necessary evil”. The more personal details you can share, the more the person you’re talking to will feel connected to you.

      As far as switching careers, I’m actually going to be putting out an in-depth guide on this soon, that points you to all the resources I have available on this site and elsewhere.

      For now, here’s a simple hint that helps a lot: As an entrepreneur, you wear a lot of hats. However, one of the biggest hats you wear is sales. If you don’t sell, you don’t eat.

      Make a list of all the awesome sales results you’ve gotten in your business, and quantify them as much as possible – This is the start of what you’re going to put in your resume, and talk about in your interviews!

  3. David Aiello says:

    Matt,

    This was a great exercise to undertake. I like to keep things simple and this was a challenge. Here goes:

    I’m just a kid from Buffalo, NY, who remains a marketing communications manager at heart and who has a real passion for employee communications. With my marketing background I’ve helped fortune 50 companies market their brand and values to their most important audience – their employees!

    I work to ensure that all messages / images directed at employee touch-points fit and support corporate values. Doing this helps ensure value-based behavior becomes consistent, reinforcing employee communications as a strategic partner in achieving business goals.

    I actually wanted to be a bit more tongue in cheek by starting our with something like, I have passable hygiene, the right number of chromosomes and suitable table manners… but thought that might be too flippant!

    Thanks for any feedback!

    Dave

    • This was a great answer David.

      My biggest focus point would be on this section:

      “support corporate values. Doing this helps ensure value-based behavior becomes consistent, reinforcing employee communications as a strategic partner in achieving business goals.”

      I would avoid using cliched terms like “employee communications”, “corporate values”, and “business goals”, and instead, get specific about what it is you do. What corporate values do YOU want to focus on, what do you mean by employee communications, and what type of business goals do you REALLY want to help companies work towards?

      Best,
      Matt

  4. […] a two sentence story about yourself that fits your career, and also perfectly helps the company solve their problems. […]

  5. […] time to write out a compelling author bio that links to your LinkedIn account. I recommend using the two sentence story technique, followed by the sentence “You can connect with him on LinkedIn […]

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