Tell Me About Yourself  “TMAY”

Most potential employers, recruitment agencies and head-hunters will put this kind of question to you at some stage in an interview. The same question may also be asked during a telephone networking discussion and even during casual conversations whilst traveling or on social occasions.

Almost invariably, the response required is a summary of career achievements. However it might be that more personal information is required; you will have to judge the circumstances and respond accordingly.

Whilst a three minute response is appropriate during interview conditions, a shorter response of say, one minute is more realistic for social contacts and only 30 seconds when telephone networking.

How to compose your TMAY

  • Your response should begin with your name.
  • Then provide a Summary Description or Profile – in a very similar style to the one that you have on your CV. This is fundamental in setting the scene.

An opening approach along the following lines for example is recommended: –

I am a naval architect with experience of the design, construction and operation of a wide variety of vessels from hovercraft to oil rigs. Most of my working experience has been in the UK, but I have worked in Japan, Australia and in other European countries.”

or

“During the past five years, most of my assignments have targeted cost reduction in distribution operations for organisations in the UK – chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

  • The main body of your response should concentrate on your achievements and successes of the last five or ten years. Those that are more than 10 years old are unlikely to be of interest.

Give 20 to 40 word summaries of each of the major jobs / assignments / consultancy work, etc which you have undertaken. State your achievements – your quantified contribution to the success of the organisation – in terms of targets hit, profit enhancement / cost reduction or quality standard improvement.

  • When you have made your key points, then – and only then – you may talk about your family and interests. Not all potential employers like to know about interests and hobbies, so be brief.
  • To give a clear message to your listener(s), you should end your TMAY with :
  • a repeat of your name,
  • a brief repeat of your job aspirations.

Remember that the employer’s time is limited – so be concise and to the point.

In a 30 sec to 1 minute TMAY there is not much point in taking up valuable time talking about your early life, nor about your education and qualifications. If you are asked about these matters, then you can respond.

Rehearsal is essential if you are to be ready to respond in a fluent and confident manner. So practise your delivery! Time yourself! Rehearse in front of a mirror or ask a family member or friend to listen.

Your 1 minute or 2 minute version should be a précis of your three minute version – probably little more than your summary profile plus shortened descriptions of your achievements.

To summarise:

  • Focus upon what you have achieved in the last few years.
  • Describe the unique performance or design features or positive changes that you introduced.
  • Quantify the operational cost or capital cost savings that you secured for your employer or for your customer.
  • Your contribution to profit is what will impress.
  • Don’t ramble. Don’t digress from the main points which you have to make in the limited time available.
  • Use positive words.

Graduates

For graduates with little or no employment experience to talk about, we recommend the following TMAY :

  • name,
  • current status,
  • qualifications & skills,
  • work history – voluntary, summer, part-time, holidays,
  • job/career targets and job search so far,
  • name (again),
  • job targets (again).

When giving your TMAY at Careers Springboard, we suggest to graduates that you indicate what help you would like from Careers Springboard and members.