Have you ever come away from being asked the, ‘so, tell me about you’ question in a professional setting and felt like you nailed it—even just a little bit? How do you sum up the essence of who you are, what you stand for and what you’re capable of without sounding like an over-rehearsed egotist, or alternatively like someone just stuffed your mouth full of cotton wool? The first step is to know who you are and what you stand for and to be comfortable with that. This understanding of your personal story informs your work and it’s something most of us don’t take half enough time to explore. So, tell me about you.…
Here’s a one-page about you PDF of these questions for you to scribble on so your answers are top of mind next time you need them.
There’s one more thing to consider when you are asked this question though. It turns out that part of the answer lies in understanding why the person is asking the question in the first place. Usually when someone asks ‘about you’ in a business or sales situation, what they really want is a reason to feel safe about the judgement call they are about to make next. Perhaps they are a human resources manager, someone who is accountable to a boss, or maybe a prospective client with a limited budget wondering if you can deliver what they need? What they believe about you and that subsequent decision may impact their future and not just yours.
There are two ways to approach the answer then—the first is to give them the answer they want. The second is to be true to who you are as you gain their trust. It’s tempting to try give the right answer, but it’s far better in the long run to show up as yourself and be hired, invited or validated for the real you, than to sell people on an illusion only to disappoint them later.
Image by Tom Ellefsen.