The approach of various job and internship fairs brings with it the inevitable interview.  Interviews can be nerve wracking, but the important thing to remember is that like in everything else, preparation is essential in order to present yourself in the best possible way.  Throughout this spring semester, I will be covering the five most basic interview questions, and this article covers the “tell me about yourself” question.

Although this question may seem simple and straightforward, the way in which you answer this question is very important since it will most likely be the first question you are asked during any interview.  Although it is tempting to present your whole life story, your response to this particular question should really only be between one or two minutes.  Keep your answer short to ensure that you are retaining your interviewer’s attention.  If you answer this question for more than two minutes, you run the risk of either boring the interviewer or losing their attention, and clearly neither of those are good options.  Although you may be nervous, it is important to remember to talk to the interviewer, not at them, meaning that you should always gauge the interviewer’s reaction to what you’re saying and remember that an interview should feel like a conversation.

This question presents the opportunity to verbally express the highlights of your resume, like your general goals, skills and background.  It is also important to focus on the particular skills and experiences that you will apply to that specific position within the organization.  To help prepare for any interview, you should mentally organize a response to this question.  Since first impressions are key and this question will be the first time that you will actually be able to talk about your resume with the interviewer, it is important that you have a coherent and organized response prepared.  Even though it should not sound like you have this answer memorized word-for-word, you should practice your two minute response until you feel comfortable with your answer. 

If you have any questions concerning any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment.  The Career Center offers tips for interviewing and mock interview sessions to help students be as prepared as possible for the interviewing process, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of this great resource!