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45. Tell me about yourself… – Transcript

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[00:00:52] Hi, there I’m Bec McFarland the host of the Pop Your Career [00:01:00]Podcast. As a career coach, I’m most passionate about helping my clients to discover their own personal flavour of career fulfillment. In this podcast, we are going to be exploring ways that you too can feel more fulfilled by your work. So strap yourself in, get ready for the ride. The tips around here are fast and in abundance.

[00:01:21] Hello, hello, Bec McFarland here helping you do better and be better in your career. So one of the most common questions that you could be asked in a job interview is tell me about yourself. And so many people get confused about how to go ahead and answer this question really well. There’s a couple of things that I would say to you just in preparation for this.

[00:01:51] The first is that you don’t want to go all the way back to when you were born, okay? So ideally you want [00:02:00] to only talk about the last sort of five to 10 years of your experience, or perhaps highlight when you began working in this particular type of role or industry.

[00:02:11] The other thing is that interviewers are definitely looking for you to provide a really well structured answer to this question, and so if you keep this in mind and you use the formula that I’m about to share with you, then that will really help you to show the way that you can deliver a well structured and well thought out argument.

[00:02:36] So what is this formula? Well, it’s the same formula that I use when I’m helping my clients to put together a professional profile section on their resume. And what this looks like is your skills plus your experience plus your relevant qualifications [00:03:00] plus your passions or your interests equal an exceptional professional profile or response to an icebreaker question, like, tell me about yourself.

[00:03:14] Each of these different sections allows you to communicate something that’s going to add value to this employer and is potentially going to persuade them that you are the most ideal candidate for the role now. There are some nuances to this. The first is that you can go through any of these four things or all of these four things in any order that you like.

[00:03:39] You don’t necessarily always have to deliver it as skills, experience, qualifications, and passions. I would suggest that in fact, you start with the thing that is going to be most relevant or most important to the position that you’re applying. So if you know, for [00:04:00]example, that you are applying for a role where a specific qualification is mandatory and you can’t work in that role without that qualification, then your qualification might be the first thing that you talk about. And from there you might go through and talk about some of the other elements.

[00:04:21] Another thing I’ll say is that if you don’t have relevant qualifications, you can leave this section out. You don’t need to highlight that you don’t have relevant qualifications, and you certainly don’t need to talk about any irrelevant qualifications that you have. Just leave that question out and follow through with the rest of the formula.

[00:04:44] At the same time, I’ve included the passion section or interest section of this formula because it does allow you to share with an employer if there is something very specific about their organization, industry, or role [00:05:00]that really excites you or lights you up. In saying that, if there is not, then I would tell you leave that section out. Don’t make something up. If you do make something up, they’ll know, and it’s just really not a good look because it already means that you’re being dishonest throughout the interview process, and that is a real turn off.

[00:05:26] The way to really use this part of the formula in terms of the passions and the interests is to really connect it to your values. So for example, I am really super passionate about animal welfare and animal rights and animal health, and my husband and I are really committed to supporting organizations that uphold those areas and values. If I was going to apply for a role with an organization like the RSPCA or perhaps another organization that was fighting for [00:06:00]animal rights, it would be really important for me to share that I’m super passionate about that.

[00:06:05] And so I might say something like, You know, I am really passionate about animal rights. My husband and I support a range of organizations including Life of Pikelet, which is an animal rescue in Victoria that focuses on rehabilitating neonatal puppies with birth defects like hydrocephalus and cleft palates and cleft lips. For this reason, I’m really interested in this particular role because it aligns with my values and would help me to work in an area that would allow me to continue exploring this passion.

[00:06:42] Okay? So you can see where if your passion or your interest wasn’t genuine and you were just applying for this job because you need a job and any job, um, then just leave that part of the formula out.

[00:06:55] So what does this look like overall? Well, I would suggest [00:07:00]to have a think about that structure. Think about which part that you wanna start on, depending on what’s gonna be most relevant to the employer, and then just practice, practice, practice.

[00:07:10] One of the reasons that I like this formula is that, as I mentioned it does help you to give that structure to your response. Uh, and what I find is that when you have a little bit of structure, it gives you a chance to be able to pull yourself back into line if you need it. Often when we go for interviews, we are already feeling really nervous. We’re already on edge, and it’s really easy for us to get distracted or do what I call is wandering off the garden path. If you know that you’ve got a structure to come back to, similar to the STAR method that we’ve already talked about, or this professional profile formula, it means that you can check in with yourself and think, oh, I’ve already covered off on skills and experience, that means I’m onto qualifications. You know where it is in your response that you’re coming back to, to [00:08:00]continue it and bring back that structure.

[00:08:03] To give you a little bit of a practical application of this, I am going to go through a very quick example from my own history just to show you how you can use these different parts of the formula to weave them together into a story. Right here goes, I haven’t practiced this, so let’s see what comes out.

[00:08:23] Thanks very much for asking. So I started my career in Human resources in 2005 when I first began recruiting with the large multinational agency Hays. Since then, I have recruited in lots of different environments, both large agencies, smaller boutique agencies. I’ve been the HR manager of a small business here in Canberra, and I have also worked in government.

[00:08:52] Throughout my work in the human resources industry, I’ve developed really strong skills in [00:09:00] coaching, development, as well as HR policies, principles, and practices. I am very confident in managing large, complex HR projects and also leading teams and building capability across organizations.

[00:09:19] I am particularly interested in this role because of the fact that there is a strong focus on coaching. I really enjoy coaching individuals and teams to help them to do better and be better. This is a real passion of mine and I have been exploring this since I completed my DISC Advanced qualification, my certification in neurolinguistic programming, and also the multiple diplomas in human resources, business and management.

[00:09:56] Okay, so that wasn’t perfect. It was [00:10:00] a little bit disjointed, but hopefully it’ll give you a bit of an understanding about how you can use this formula and how you can weave the different elements through to tell a bit of a story.

[00:10:11] If you’ve got any questions about this or you wanna chat about how you can answer this question the most effectively, please feel free to reach out to me on social media. As you know, I am at Pop Your Career everywhere, and I am always more than happy to continue the conversation. I’ll see you soon.

[00:10:31] Thanks so much for listening to the Pop Your Career podcast. I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s tips and that you found value in what I’ve shared with you. If you like your career advice quick and entertaining, I would love for you to subscribe. Also leave me a rating and a review. If you wanna continue the conversation, come and join me over on social media. You can find me everywhere at Pop Your Career. I’ll see you soon.

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About the author 


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.