Year after year, I get complaints from employers that students don’t do enough company research before going into an interview. However, I really feel that the problem is not that students don’t do it. Rather, they just don’t know how to communicate it back to the employer. A great way any job seeker can demonstrate their company knowledge is through their answer to “Tell me about yourself.”
Remember the purpose of the interview: it’s to get a job. Always keep in mind that even though “tell me about yourself” is broad, the underlying reason why employers ask that is because they want you to tell them something RELEVANT and related to the job about yourself.
My basic model is:
Give a brief introduction (Name, major, graduation date). Bring up skills, knowledge, experience, projects or leadership/involvement related to the job. End with a summary statement that links your examples to the job to which you are applying.
Shortened Example (Imagine the job I’m interviewing for is marketing/social media related):
“My name is Laura Ledgerwood and I’m a 2007 graduate of Clemson University where I majored in marketing. In the past, I’ve been involved in several professional committees dedicated to marketing and social media where I learned a lot about effective strategies to engage your audience through the use of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. In my current role at the University of Georgia, I coordinate social media on the behalf of my office and keep track of social media analytics using Hootsuite and bit.ly. In addition to these experiences, I’ve been learning about the Adobe Creative Suite on the side to enhance my creative capabilities in the hope that I can get into a role more in line with that interest. Because of these experiences and my future career goals, I feel like I would be a great fit for [insert company name/job title].”