In this new blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.
When participating in a job interview, you can almost guarantee your interviewer will say, “Tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume.” Although your first thought might be that he/she is asking for your autobiography, your interviewer actually means “What are your key selling points for this job?” or “Tell me why I should hire you.” Based on your response, he/she will be able to assess these qualities:
- Your level of preparedness for/understanding of the job
- Your skills, interests, passions, and motivations (to see if they match with the job)
We recommend that you approach your response to these prompts as follows:
- Know your story. Do not read from your resume or assume your interviewer is familiar with it.
- When telling your story, be structured and concise (i.e., keep your responses to less than two minutes). Start with a headline, so the recruiter knows what to listen for, and end your story with a strong statement about why you are interested in the role.
- Highlight the experiences and skills that are most relevant to your target audience.
- Tell a memorable story. Balance the “what” and the “why” of your job transitions.
Consider using one of the following two frameworks when crafting your response:
- Chronological – Start with the role you want and work backward.
“I am very excited to be here interviewing for a XXX job at XXX. As I walk you through my resume, I’ll highlight why I believe I can add value to your team. I decided to get my MBA at XXX because of the XXX coursework and strong connections to the XXX industry. Before earning my MBA, I was a consultant at XXX, where I worked with several retail clients. Although I loved helping my clients meet their needs, I came to realize that I wanted to be part of the exciting changes happening in retail….”
- Thematic – Start by stating themes relevant to the company, and then work backward or forward.
“As I go through my resume, I want to highlight a few themes that have driven my decisions about my career. First, I’ll discuss my ability to work with customers and to be part of diverse teams. Before earning my MBA, I was a consultant at XXX. In this role, I most enjoyed working closely with our retail clients to advise them on strategic decisions. At XXX, we always put our clients first and frequently collaborated cross-functionally among the organizations we worked with….”
Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!